Finalist 2019 Gallipoli Art Prize

Medium: Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 91cm x 182cm  (36″ x 72″)

This diptych oil on canvas painting is a tribute to our heroes.

There have been 100 VC winners from the Boar War through to Afghanistan. I could have depicted any of them because they all displayed unprecedented bravery in the face of an enemy, winning our highest decoration of valour.

I chose to honour our very first VC recipient in WW1 and our 100th . I have appropriated the service portraits of Albert Jacka and Cameron Baird into their war zones to humanise how ordinary but exceptional these men were. They resisted and controlled their fears in most extraordinary ways.

Albert Jacka had minimal training before landing in Gallipoli. During trench fighting Jacka skirted the enemy trench attacking them from the rear.  He shot 5, bayoneted 2, and caused the rest to retreat.

98 years later Cameron Baird’s commando company was assigned for search and clearance of a Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan. Baird drew the enemy fire away from his team 3 times neutralising the enemy which allowed his team to gain an advantage. Baird was killed in the effort but he saved the lives of his team through his actions. He was awarded his VC posthumously.