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Conflict and Compromise: Australia’s Official War Artists and the “War on Terror”

  • Kit Messham-Muir
Chapter

Abstract

Amidst Australia’s contentious involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Australian War Memorial began to select high-profile contemporary artists for its Official War Artist scheme. Sent to Afghanistan and the Middle East, artists Shaun Gladwell (2009) and Ben Quilty (2011) dealt with difficult issues such as soldiers returning with post-traumatic stress disorder and the ethics of drone warfare. Yet critics have questioned the independence of Official War Artists. Unofficial war artist George Gittoes argues these artists are cosseted and restricted in what they can create. This chapter considers Gittoes’ travel in the 1990s to war zones where the Australian military were involved, such as with Australia’s peacekeeping mission to Rwanda in 1995, and examines the problematic issues that arise from now embedding contemporary artists with troops in an official capacity.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Curtin UniversityPerthAustralia

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