Remnants of the Great War linger through inspired photographic exhibition

Mayor Jack Dempsey and exhibition tour producer Trudie Leigo discuss images with Bundaberg artist Ross Driver at the opening of the Recovering the Past exhibition on Friday night.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row…

Many people are aware of the opening lines of John McCrae’s iconic poem of World War One.

What many people don’t realise is those fields in Belgium are still delivering up potentially deadly consequences.

An incredible amount of unexploded bombs and other devices are regularly uncovered from the now tranquil and productive agricultural fields of Flanders.

In fact, in 2017 Belgian bomb disposal experts recovered more than 200 tonnes of unexploded ammunition from the former battlefields.

At the Lex Rowland Gallery at the Hinkler Hall of Aviation on Friday night, Mayor Jack Dempsey officially opened the exhibition “Recovering the Past”, an inspired compilation of images produced by London based artist Ian Alderman.

Alderman accompanied bomb disposal experts as they undertook their dangerous work, at times with tragic consequences. The experience allowed Alderman to capture modern images that link the present to the Great War.

Cleverly Alderman has been able to utilise these modern colour photographs with monochrome images of soldiers from the conflict era and merge them into thought provoking interpretations that span the decades.

The results are powerful and Alderman’s dedication to detail is impeccable. The ghost-like images of Australian battlefield soldiers engaging with the bomb disposal crews make for a unique artistic experience.

The stories accompanying the images are tragic, sorrowful and provide a glimpse of what must have been hell on earth.

The display is an appropriate post script to the observances so recently undertaken for the centenary of the Armistice.

The exhibition is free and available for viewing until April 28.