Aboriginal Anzac stories flowering at exhibition
AN art exhibition highlighting untold stories of WA Aboriginal World War I servicemen will open at Edith Cowan University last week.
They Served with Honour: An Exhibition marks this year’s Anzac Centenary 2015–2018 commemorations.
It also recognises the 2016 National Reconciliation Week message of ‘ Our History, Our Story, Our Future’.
The exhibition is a collaboration between ECU and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and draws upon the book They Served With Honour: Untold Stories of WA Servicemen at Gallipoli.
“The book brings to light the unknown stories of 13 WA Aboriginal servicemen who served at Gallipoli,” ECU art collection curator Sue Starcken said.
“Within the exhibition photographs of these soldiers and audio from some of the family interviews will be set alongside works from the ECU art collection, including work from Nyoongar artists Peter Farmer, Troy Bennell and Ben Pushman.”
Farmer said he felt honoured and privileged when asked to paint a piece for this exhibition.
“I am a proud descendant of Kenneth Farmer who served in the First and Second World Wars for Australia,” he said.
“His brothers Larry, Lewis and Augustus Pegg served in both wars as well; and his sisters served in the women’s auxiliary armed forces also.”
Farmer said his artwork was symbolic of the 13 Aboriginal soldiers featured in the book.
“They are signified with the 13 poppies,” he said. “The lines represent the many roads and paths they travelled; and in the middle are hills and fields where the poppies appeared.
“The figure in the middle is the unknown Aboriginal soldier (Eternal Flame), who had no name until this century.”
They Served with Honour: An Exhibition is at ECU Joondalup until June 22. Opening hours are 10am to 4pm from Monday to Friday.
Nyoongar artist Peter Farmer with his painting commissioned for They Served with Honour: An Exhibition.