What a waist – Anzacery II – 2022
Orange NSW belatedly ‘discovered’ a WW1 VC winner from the district, John Hamilton. Typically an anachronistic bronze sculpture was unveiled to great pomp in 2017. In keeping with the nostalgia associated with this monument, the venue was seemingly an out of place one; it is situated outside the old Town Hall which is now a privately owned company. Almost no Orange citizen today is aware that this was originally the centre of the Town. In a further irony it is placed directly opposite the Kmart Car Tyre repair shop. This too had been of importance as the site of the original Town Square. A NEW OLD focus that residents are encouraged to be proud of.
The artist chose to address this way-past-its-use-by-date (badly scaled) statue in a similar fashion to his painting Country Town Anzacery 1 . Hamilton VC was, at some juncture after his unveiling, re-wrapped in plastic – presumably for some alteration or repair.
Wrapping up this epitome of manhood in a feminine cloak is an appropriate way of exposing it for what it is: a carefully nurtured national identity hero figure, celebrating our Australian Anzac death cult and our warlike disposition.
War heroes and particularly VC winners are a burning social topic at present:
The recent exposure of Australia’s living (Australian specific award) VC winner Ben Roberts-Smith as a potential war criminal for his murderous actions against civilians in Afghanistan, offers an insight into the mentality of VC winners. Formally much feted, Ben Smith’s fame as ‘our’ war hero and his military career is forever shattered.
Additionally and significantly, the Australian government is so outraged at this embarrassing exposure that the whistleblower David McBride, is currently being prosecuted and faces a potential life sentence. What is at stake here in democratic Australia is truth telling and freedom of expression. WE should ALL be deeply concerned.