|Munitions workers by Lyndon Dadswell|
There are examples of work on show from a number of prisoners of war who turned their hand to creative arts. For example, an embroidered blanket worked by Corporal Cliff Gatenby, who was captured on Crete.
|Corporal Cliff Gatenby's embroidered blanket|
The work below was painted at Stalag VIII-B, a German prisoner of war camp where Sergeant Arthur Nichol was captured and imprisoned.
|Fight by Sergeant Arthur Nichol (1914-1965)|
|Taking Old Vickers position, Bobdubi Ridge, 28 July 1945 by Ivor Hele|
|Ballet of Wind and Rain by Colin Colahan|
The unusual title of the work refers both to the choreography of the figures and the theatricality of the composition. The idea that a ballet was created through the colour, movement and atmospheric effects of the scene as it presented itself to the eye, recalled the use of musical terms such as 'symphony', 'arrangement' and 'harmony' in the titles of a number of paintings by Whistler. Clearly Colahan was more interested in capturing the human drama posed by this wartime subject, than in painting major military events.
|Soldier by Russell Drysdale|
I am particularly interested in the female official war artists and the subject matter they recorded. They attempted to present Australia at war as a nation including people from different genders and backgrounds, bestowing importance onto otherwise ordinary sitters.
|WAAAF Cook (Corporal Joan Whipp) by Nora Heysen|
Whereas the drawing probably captures what Heysen remembers of her character - 'she was such a jolly person and she got on very well with the men and she was such a good cook' - on the painting she is depicted as serious and even formidable. Heysen had previously ben censured for not making her war art stern enough.
|Morning after night shift by Dore Hawthorne|
A friend of hers, Nancy Hall, wrote, 'Dore felt the ugliness of materialism and pollution as keenly as she felt everything that was fine and beautiful, and much of her painting and writing was a great cry of protest.'
|No. 1 projectile shop (Commonwealth Ordnance Factory, Maribyrnong) by Sybil Craig|
With the escalation of the war and much of the male workforce away fighting, women replaced men in the factories. As process workers they were trained for specific operations that were often dangerous and onerous. The war affected everyone, and it's good to see this fully represented.