Effects of war highlighted in emotional photo project

One of the photos in the Recovering the Past exhibition by Ian Alderman
One of the photos in the Recovering the Past exhibition by Ian Alderman.

Hauntingly beautiful images of the ongoing effects of war will soon be showcased at the Hinkler Hall of Aviation as part of a nine-venue Queensland tour.

Recovering the Past is a unique photographic exhibition by London-based artist Ian Alderman.

It brings together two separate groups of men with origins a century apart, united through the conflict of the Third Battle of Ypres in Belgium.

By using modern digital manipulation techniques, Alderman has combined artistic inspiration garnered from the work of Australian artists Frank Hurley and Will Longstaff to blend images of Australian Imperial Force (AIF) personnel into his own photographs of the bomb disposal operations of DOVO-SEDEE.

Cultural and community services portfolio spokesperson Cr Judy Peters said the “stunningly emotive” exhibition not only highlighted the little known work of the DOVO-SEDEE, but also the role that Australian soldiers played in the 1917 battle.

“Featured in the exhibition is two groups of men — the first of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) who fought in Flanders in some of the worst battles of The Great War,” Cr Peters said.

“The second group is the Belgian men who continue the ongoing bomb disposal efforts on the same former battlefields today.

“This innovative exhibition explores the consequences of human conflict and its legacies that persist long after the war finished.”

The Recovering the Past exhibition will open soon at the Hinkler Hall of Aviation in the Lew Rowland Gallery.

Our Aussie soldiers

According to Recovering the Past narrative, all five divisions of the AIF saw action in the Third Battle of Ypres.

“Despite suffering 38,000 casualties in a period of just eight weeks of fighting, the AIF made a significant contribution to the successful outcome of the fighting in Flanders,” the narrative states.

“Twenty men of the AIF were the first to reach the ruins of Passchendaele but were forced to retreat through lack of support.”

War effects ongoing

The narrative of the exhibition explains how ongoing military operations to source and detonate unexploded ammunition is still being undertaken more than a century on from the battles of 1917.

In 2016 alone, the DOVO-SEDEE’s Poelkapelle team recovered 197.7 tons of Great War ammunition from around the former Ypres Salient area.

The recovery of unexploded ammunition is expected to continue for many years to come.

Exhibition viewing

Cr Peters said the Recovering the Past exhibition would be be open free at the Hinkler Hall of Aviation on Saturday, 9 March to Sunday, 28 April 2019 at the Lex Rowland Gallery.

“There will also be an official opening night on Friday, 8 March from 5.30pm to 7pm,” Cr Peters said.

“It is a significant time for this exhibition to be in Bundaberg as it will continue to be showcased through ANZAC Day commemorations.”

You can RSVP to the opening by Wednesday, 6 March by phoning the Hinkler Hall of Aviation on 4130 4400 or link:http://www.hinklerhallofaviation.com/Events/Recovering-the-Past