In recognition of Anzac Day, Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery will be hosting an Artist Talk with Captain Julian Thompson.
Captain Thompson will join Gallery Director Rebecca McDuff to speak about his current exhibition Accretions of History: ANZACS in Iraq on Wednesday 25 April at 5.30 pm.
These powerful artworks capture moments during Captain Thompson’s deployments to Iraq in 2016 and 2019.
The compelling visual imagery and symbolism aims to give a voice to his own experiences as well as those whom he served alongside.
An accredited professional landscape painter, Captain Thompson completed these artworks in his private capacity to represent the visual reflections of an environment the public rarely gets to see.
“’Accretion’ is a term for the building up of layers (usually used in geology) and it seems an apt term to me for the way the history of both a nation and its army accumulate,” Captain Thompson said.
“Because conflict and protection are so important to the history of a nation, I think a nation’s army reflects the national character in a fundamental way.
“Army is built of individuals who together make up a whole, so I am interested in how individual histories add up to do this.
“In my paintings there are many images of people walking into the distance – I see these people as walking through their own histories and lives and because they wear the uniform they contribute to army – and thus Australian – history.”
Home from home
While this is Captain Thompson’s first time exhibiting in Bundaberg, he has a strong connection with region, owning local property and visiting often.
His hope is that locals will see something of themselves in his work.
“I think the regions contribute disproportionately to Australian identity as these are the areas where the connection to landscape and community is strongest and people are often the most settled,” he said.
“There may be several generations who have had a continual presence in a small town and in this way the local character seeps in.
“This in turn is brought to army when people enlist, serve and may then return at the end of their careers.”
Captain Thompson said the exhibition aimed to allow people to reflect on the individual experiences of those who serve currently.
“Every year Anxac Day reminds us of historical conflict and the news media outlines world events – but it is comparatively difficult for personal stories in the here-and-now of army to be part of the public consciousness,” he said.
“The visual imagery of army has fascinated me since I joined after my earlier career as a full-time artist, and it has been a great privilege to paint what I have seen.
“I would like to thank the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery for giving me the opportunity to exhibit the resulting works.”
Artist Talk with Captain Julian Thompson
Where: Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery
When: Wednesday 26 April, 5.30 to 7 pm
Cost: Free event, no bookings required
Accretions of History: ANZACS in Iraq
Find out more about the exhibition here.