What a waist – Anzacery II – 2022

ArtWhat a waist – Anzacery II – 2022

What a waist – Anzacery II – 2022


Conte drawing on paper. H53.5 x W35 cm

Orange NSW belatedly ‘discovered’ a WW1 VC winner from the district, John Hamilton. Typically, during the euphoric 100-year celebrations, an anachronistic bronze sculpture was commissioned and duly unveiled to great pomp in 2017. In keeping with the nostalgic reverence accorded this monument, the permanent 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 placement too was of significance, as the site of the original Town Square. Hence – a NEW OLD focus that residents are encouraged to be proud of.

Hamilton VC was, at some juncture after his unveiling, re-wrapped in plastic – presumably for some alteration or repair work. The artist chose to address this way-past-its-use-by-date (badly scaled) bronze statue in a similar fashion as a companion piece to his painting Country Town Anzacery.

Wrapping this epitome of manhood in what appears to be a feminine cloak, the artist satirizes the apotheosis of war heroes. This Man Ray-esque approach seemed to be an appropriate way of exposing this public gesture for what it is: a carefully nurtured (if belatedly discovered) national identity heroic figure, celebrating our Australian Anzac death cult and our warlike disposition.

postscript.

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 socio-psychology of VC winners. Formally much feted, Ben Smith’s fame as ‘our’ war hero and his military career and celebrity cult-figure status is forever (and perhaps quite aptly) shattered.

Significantly, the Australian government is so outraged at this embarrassing exposure that the whistle blower David McBride, is currently being prosecuted for leaking this well kept information 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.

What a waist – Anzacery II – 2022
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