National World War I Museum Highlights Australian War Art

A new exhibit features the most comprehensive collection of Australian war art ever seen outside Australia.

The Nation World War I Museum and Memorial isn’t just commemorating the WWI for its centennial—a new exhibit, A Centenary of Australian War Art, delves into Australia’s war history through artworks from the Australian War Memorial depicting Australian military experience from the First World War to Afghanistan.

Australia inaugurated its Official War Art Scheme in 1917 and the role of art in Australia’s interpretation of its wartime history was established with the commission of Will Dyson, a skilled cartoonist who dedicated himself to depicting the human dimension of war. To date, the Australian War Memorial has appointed more than 70 official war artists.

“Through this collection, we’re able to share the experiences of Australians in conflicts covering nearly 100 years and ranging from World War I through modern times,” says National World War I Museum and Memorial Senior Curator Doran Cart.

The exhibition captures some of the vast geographical area and various theaters of conflict and peacekeeping that Australia has covered and participated in, from the Middle east and Europe to Vietnam, Korea and Singapore and highlights the crucial role Australians played in some of the most defining moments in modern history. It also features Australia’s best known war artists, including George Lambert and Arthur Streeton.

“A Centenary of Australian War Art is yet another special exhibition at the Museum commemorating the centennial of World War I and, in this case, a collection of art allowing us to remember stories from not only the Great War, but several significant conflicts throughout the 20th and 21st centuries,” says National World War I Museum and Memorial President and CEO Dr. Matthew Naylor.

Thursday, July 23 award-winning producer Marian Bartsch comes to the museum for the American premiere of “The Waler: Australia’s Great War Horse,” a documentary telling the story of the more than 130,000 Australian horses who left Albany in Western Australia to serve in World War I and didn’t return. After the free screening (RSVP here), Bartsch will participate in a Q&A session about the film.

The exhibit is open now through December 6.