Ben Quilty captures strength, fragility, trauma and resolve

 

Ben Quilty’s striking portrait Sergeant P, after Afghanistan 2012 was acquired through the 2014 Foundation Appeal with generous support from Foundation members and donors, including a lead donation from the Returned & Services League of Australia (Queensland Branch).

Commissioned by the Australian War Memorial in the role of official war artist, Quilty spent three weeks on the frontline in Afghanistan in October 2011 talking to and documenting the experiences of Australian Defence Force personnel participating in Operation Slipper.

The work is the remarkable result of a private studio session with a returned solider who had received life-threatening injuries in an accident during his service. Despite his severe injuries he was determined to stand for the entirety of the session. Quilty captures his subject with striking pathos, conveying Sergeant P’s strength and fragility, trauma and resolve.

Sergeant P, after Afghanistan 2012 pictures the demons that many servicemen and women live with, making it a powerful portrayal of the complexity and breadth of military experiences.

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Ben Quilty with Sergeant P, after Afghanistan 2012 / Purchased 2014 with funds from the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation Appeal and Returned & Services League of Australia (Queensland Branch) / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Ben Quilty

Ben Quilty talks about his creative process

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Ben Quilty reflects on his practice

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Feature image detail: Ben Quilty Sergeant P, after Afghanistan 2012

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