ANZAC Exhibition of Photographs at Civic Centre in Bega Valley

Ian Alderman, Flanders, digital photograph to paper, 69 x 95cm

28 March 2023

SECCA (South East Centre for Contemporary Arts) presents Recovering The Past, a unique and timely Australian-focussed photographic exhibition of 25 thought-provoking images, in the Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre, Bega from 31 March to 19 July.

Gallery Director, Iain Dawson said Recovering The Past documents the consequences of the Great War on Australian society in the post-conflict era.

“With the signing of the Armistice, the guns of the Great War fell silent. However, the consequences of that conflict on Australian society itself were only just beginning,” Mr Dawson said.

“Produced over a six-year period, artist Ian Alderman was given unprecedented access to the operations of DOVO-SEDEE (the Belgian Army’s bomb disposal unit) to produce this exhibition.

“It is the only art project produced for the centenary commemorations of the Great War that documents the work of an ongoing military operation specific to that conflict.

“The photographs on display are accompanied by quotes from traumatised, shell-shocked returning soldiers, war widows and grieving mothers.

“Inspired by the work of Australian artistic icons, photographer Frank Hurley and artist Will Longstaff, each of the exhibition’s images brings together two separate groups of men with origins a century apart, but who are united through conflict – the personnel of the Belgian army’s bomb disposal team and archival images of men from the Australian Imperial Force.

“Recovering The Past has been exhibited at the United Nations in Geneva and as a component of the centenary commemorations to the Battle of Passchendaele at the In Flanders Fields Museum, in Ypres, Belgium.

“In 2018, it was awarded significant funding by the Queensland Government’s Anzac100 grants scheme.

“This timely exhibition allows the viewer to contemplate the consequence to society of the long-term legacy of conflict, the philosophy of which is brought to a conclusion in the final image, which reverses the narrative to show an inevitable future consequence of war.”

Recovering The Past will be open for viewing (free of charge) from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday in the Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre, Bega from 31 March to 19 July.

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