Lori Pensini

Unknown Soldier

Oil on canvas

80 x 65cm

Lori Pensini_Unknown Soldier

This painting honours the role of the aboriginal soldier in Gallipoli.


Under the constitution, Aboriginal people weren’t recognised as citizens. The 1903 Defence Act specifically exempted those not of substantial European descent from service. I wanted to paint the trepidation, the commitment and courage it took an indigenous person to fight for a country, his country, that didn’t legally recognise him.

His face is painted with white ochre, his tribal totem to create a protective aura and to ward off spirits. The Sphinx in the background is stained pink and mirrored in the soft tone skin surrounds of his eyes and is representative of the lives lost.