The Soldier as Artist: Memories of War

  • Michael Armstrong


As an artist who is also a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the author seeks to place his art practice within the broader tradition of Australian War Art and thereby seek to reconcile these two identities. By examining the emergence of the Australian Official War Art Scheme during the First World War, the framing and mythologising influences on Australian War Art and the development of the Australian War Memorial as the dominant War Art patron, the author identifies the key components of Australian War Art. The author’s military experience provides a unique dialogue opportunity, although he acknowledges the inherent organisational and societal biases, frames and mythologies applicable to his art practice.


Art Practice Australian And New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) K2O Wt Broader Australian Community Australian Soldiers 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Baugh, Bruce. “Authenticity Revisited.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 46, no. 4 (1988): 477–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bean, Charles Edwin Woodrow. Letters from France. London: Cassell & Company Limited, 1917.Google Scholar
  3. Bourke, Joanna. War and art: A Visual History of Modern Conflict. London: Reaktion Books, 2017.Google Scholar
  4. Brook, Peter. The Empty Space: A Book about the Theatre: Deadly, Holy, Rough, Immediate. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996.Google Scholar
  5. Brown, James. Anzac’s Long Shadow: The Cost of Our National Obsession. Melbourne: Penguin, 2014.Google Scholar
  6. Butler, Rex. “Ben Quilty: The Fog of War.” Intellectual History Review 27, no. 3 (2017): 433–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cassin, Ray. “Anzac Myths Beyond the Alan Bond Test.” Eureka Street 24, no. 7, 2014. Posted April 23, 2014. Accessed December 20, 2016.
  8. Condé, Anne-Marie. “John Treloar, Official War Art and the Australian War Memorial.” Australian Journal of Politics & History 53, no. 3 (2007): 451–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Davies, Stephen. “Definitions of Art.” In The Routledge Companion To Aesthetics, ed. Berys Gaut and Dominic Lopes, 169–179. London: Routledge, 2001.Google Scholar
  10. Douglas, Amelia. “The Viewfinder and the View.” Broadsheet 38, no. 3 (Sept–Nov 2009), 110.Google Scholar
  11. Eaton, Marcia Muelder. Art and the Aesthetic. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004.Google Scholar
  12. Esslin, Martin. Artaud. Vol. 3831. London: J. Calder, 1976.Google Scholar
  13. Fenner, David E.W. Introducing Aesthetics. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003.Google Scholar
  14. Goldman, Alan, B. Gaut, and D.M. Lopes. “The Aesthetic.” In The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics ed. Berys Gaut and Dominic Lopes, 181–192. London: Routledge, 2001.Google Scholar
  15. Gray, Anne. Arthur Streeton; The Art of War. Canberra: National Gallery of Australia, 2018, 5.Google Scholar
  16. Green, Jonathan. “Anzac Day is about their deaths, not our lives.” ABC News Online. Australian Broadcasting Company. April 25, 2012. Television broadcast.
  17. Heble, Ajay, and Rebecca Caines, eds. The Improvisation Studies Reader: Spontaneous Acts. London: Routledge, 2014.Google Scholar
  18. Herwitz, Daniel. Aesthetics: Key Concepts in Philosophy. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2008.Google Scholar
  19. Hibbert, Rachel. “I wasn’t a Fan of Football on Anzac Day… until I Changed My Mind.” Sydney Morning Herald, April 20, 2017.
  20. Johnston, Ryan. “Recalling History to Duty: 100 Years of Australian War Art.” Artlink 35, no. 1 (2015): 14–19.Google Scholar
  21. Langer, Susanne K. Feeling and Form. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1953.Google Scholar
  22. Lewis, Robert. “Culture Warriors against ANZAC.” Quadrant Online, April 25, 2010.
  23. Messham-Muir, Kit. Double War: Shaun Gladwell, Visual Culture and the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Melbourne: Thomas and Hudson, 2015.Google Scholar
  24. Mirzoeff, Nicholas. Bodyscape: Art, Modernity and the Ideal Figure, Visual Cultures. London; New York: Routledge, 1995.Google Scholar
  25. Power, Cormac. Presence in Play: A Critique of Theories of Presence in the Theatre. New York: Rodopi, 2008.Google Scholar
  26. Samenow, Jason. “Iran City Hits Suffocating Heat Index of 165 Degrees, Near World Record.” The Washington Post, July 31, 2015.
  27. Seal, Graham. Inventing Anzac: The Digger and National Mythology. St. Lucia, Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 2004.Google Scholar
  28. Sheppard, Anne. Aesthetics: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Art. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1987.Google Scholar
  29. Stephen, Ann. “Portrait of an Artist as an Ex-War Surgeon.” History of Education Review 45, no. 2 (2016): 183–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. “The Official War Art Scheme.” Australian War Memorial. Accessed 4 April 2015.
  31. Travers, Richard. To Paint a War: The Lives of the Australian Artists who Painted the Great War, 1914–1918. Port Melbourne, Victoria: Thames & Hudson, 2017.Google Scholar
  32. Twomey, Christina. “Trauma and the Reinvigoration of Anzac: An Argument.” History Australia 10, no. 3 (2013): 85–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Webster, Laura. “Ben Quilty: After Afghanistan.” Art Monthly Australia 258 (2013): 41–43.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Armstrong
    • 1
  1. 1.Australian National Capital Artists (ANCA)DicksonAustralia

Personalised recommendations