Your Friend The Enemy

Art Life , Exhibitions Apr 20, 2015 No Comments

From Sharne Wolff

Inspired by found letters written by his maternal grandfather Idris Charles Pike to his sweetheart Violet Clapson, Idris Murphy won last year’s Gallipoli Art Prize with the painting Gallipoli Evening. One of those letters – penned at Gallipoli in September 1915 – referred to the close proximity of the Turks to the ANZAC trenches. Descriptive of the back and forth trade in beef and jam, tobacco and cigarettes between opposing sides, Pike refers to an occasion where a package was addressed by the Turks (in French) to “Our friends, the enemy.” Taking its cue from both the letters and that notable salutation, Your Friend the Enemy commemorates the centenary of the ANZAC campaign at Gallipoli.


Sixteen contemporary artists, including Murphy and several others with family links to the ANZAC memory, were invited to travel to Turkey on a research and painting exhibition. Tracing the footsteps of George Lambert who painted his impressions of the battlefields at the end of the War in 1919 (including the well known, Anzac, the landing 1915), the artists explored the landscape with new perspective and the benefit of hindsight. This display evidences the range of feeling evoked both by the landscape and memories of the period by artists with varied links, different generations and diverse styles.

The artists are: Elisabeth Cummings, Steve Lopes, Guy Maestri, Euan Macleod, Idris Murphy, Amanda Penrose Hart, Leo Robba, Luke Sciberras, Peter O’Doherty, Susan O’Doherty Michael Shepherd, Jonathan Throsby, John Walsh, Deidre Bean, Michael Nock and Stanley Palmer.

Until May 24
SH Ervin Gallery, Sydney
Pic: Euan Macleod Euan Macleod, Fire at Night, 2014, oil on polyester. Courtesy the artist and S.H.Ervin Gallery.

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Sharne Wolff

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