“Don’t Shoot” – Desperate for Peace
Oil on canvas
101.6 x 152.4cm
In the years leading up to World War I Australia and NZ, as part of the British Empire, were tied to the mother country, yet trying to find their own identity. When war broke out and our countries rushed to Britain’s aid we had no idea what this war could mean for us. Our soldiers showed courage, loyalty and bravery that won respect from both the British and the Turks. The Turks also amazed the allies with the bravery, patriotism and valour with which they defended their homeland against what they saw as a Western invasion.
The Gallipoli Campaign (Çanakkale Savaşı to the Turks), though a disaster and a tragedy, is significant for the rise of a new nation in not only Australia/NZ but also in Turkey. For Australia it was a coming of age of the fledgling nation. For the Turks it led to a modern independent Turkey which emerged from the old Ottoman Empire.
In my painting “Don’t Shoot” – Desperate for Peace, I have tried to illustrate the five virtues of the Club’s creed: loyalty, respect, love of country, courage and comradeship which were exemplified by heroes on both sides. I have also tried to show another virtue, that of compassion, which I have heard was occasionally shown in unexpected places.