A work of art to re­mem­ber

Canning Times - - FRONT PAGE -

A SUB­MA­RINE made from old, sal­vaged mil­i­tary books has been un­veiled at the John Curtin Gallery to mark the 100th an­niver­sary of Ar­mistice.

MORE than 250 mil­i­tary books have been turned into an art project to mark the 100th an­niver­sary of Ar­mistice Day.

The 14m-long model of the AE1, Aus­tralia’s first sub­ma­rine, was made com­pletely from book cov­ers sal­vaged by artist Jo Dar­byshire.

Dar­byshire said she hap­pened across the books by chance and upon learn­ing they were des­tined for land­fill de­cided to save them.

“I was told they were the old li­brary de­fence force bar­racks and be­longed to the Royal United Ser­vice In­sti­tute; all books were from of­fices of the de­fence forces in Perth bar­racks,” she said.

“Each ti­tle had a story and in the end I took home 400 books, gave them away to peo­ple and tried to keep some, but mainly I was think­ing ‘how can I dis­play this as a li­brary, as a col­lec­tion of books about war?’.”

The books cover sub­jects from mil­i­tary his­tory, in­clud­ing World War I, World War II, to the ex­ploits of Aus­tralian sol­diers, wars in Asia and Hitler’s rule.

Dar­byshire said de­spite trends to­wards eBooks, noth­ing would ever re­place the feel­ing of hold­ing a book in your hands.

“I hope peo­ple get a sense of sad­ness about the work that’s gone into these books, some­one spend­ing time writ­ing them, all the work pub­lish­ing them, the han­dling by li­brar­i­ans and the hun­dreds of peo­ple who have taken out books and read them. I want peo­ple to feel that,” she said.

“You don’t get that from Kin­dle, that beau­ti­ful sense of the his­tory of a book, how it’s been made and the work gone into it.”

Dar­byshire said she wanted to keep the books’ mes­sage alive as art.

The in­stal­la­tion will be open at the John Curtin Gallery un­til De­cem­ber 2.

Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek

Artist Jo Dar­byshire next to her sub­ma­rine

Pic­ture: David Baylis www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d488265

Curtin Hive man­ager Dr An­drew Woods and John Curtin Gallery di­rec­tor Chris Mal­colm with the art­work made from mil­i­tary books.

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