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Startling new WWI evidence shapes Perceptions of War exhibition

Page last published: 11 Feb 2015

War through comics and cartoons, image courtesy of the Australian War MemorialIt's World War One as you've never seen it before: in association with the launch of Harvey Broadbent's new book Gallipoli, The Turkish Defence, the Macquarie University Art Gallery has today opened a powerful new exhibition: Perceptions of War.

With new evidence of alternative perspectives on war history, shared within the context and framework of 'Remembrance', the exhibition is set to provide a powerful emotional and physical response to the complexities of war. Curators Rhonda Davis and Sara Smyth-King have drawn together a wide range of materials, including archived maps, comics, even an interactive board game.

Gallipoli: the Turkish perspective

On display for the first time in Australia are archival maps revealing Turkish defence lines and strategies. Leading World War I Macquarie University academics, Professor Sean Brawley and Harvey Broadbent, have researched the archives in Turkey - previously untouched - in uncovering new information pertaining to the Gallipoli campaign from the Turkish perspective. The implications, also arising in the book Gallipoli, The Turkish Defence, are far reaching. Brawley's film about the Gallipoli landing, shot on site in Turkey with Broadbent, will also feature.

War through comics and cartoons: everyday man's art

Professor Jane Chapman has worked across the archives of the British Empire, travelling through Australia and Canada to uncover comic and cartoon narratives never before exhibited. Over 800 trench newspapers have been rediscovered, with the art of ordinary soldiers representing their point of view direct from the frontlines. The history and contemporary contribution of comics and cartoons as a cultural record during World War I has revealed new information about various aspects of war from propaganda, the role of humour during catastrophic times, to its psychological power as a means of communication.

Board games and more

An interactive board game designed by Cameron Oldfield and new works by leading contemporary artists Lisa Jones and Tim Moore bring a conceptual element to the display.

Insights into Indigenous Australians and those from non-English speaking backgrounds (such as Greek-Australians) who fought in the Australian armed services during the conflict, provide yet another perspective.

Exhibition launch

Professor Dame Marie Bashir launched both the exhibition and Gallipoli Book on Wednesday 11 February. The exhibition will run from 9th February to 18th March 2015.

Watch Exhibition Launch event video:

Associated events: Public Lectures

Thursday 19 February at 1pm
"Visual Satire and Australian Identity, 1914-18"
Presented by Professor Jane Chapman

Thursday 5 March at 1pm
"Humour as History - Soldier Cartoons from the Trenches"
Presented by Professor Jane Chapman

More on Gallipoli: The Turkish Defence, published by Melbourne University Press

Gallipoli: The Turkish Defence is the first and only book to reveal new details of the Turkish point of view of the conflict, revealing how the Turks reacted and defended Gallipoli and how they succeeded in forcing the Allied forces to withdraw.

Author and Turkish language expert Harvey Broadbent spent five years in Turkish military and other archives to unearth the Turkish story. He had access to an extensive collection of previously unresearched documents, ranging from official government records to military and personal diaries and correspondence of soldiers. The result is the fullest possible and most comprehensive account of the Turkish defence yet produced, which fills a huge gap in the history of the Gallipoli campaign.

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