Lone Pine, Gallipoli
Over the years it has come my way to give an ANZAC Day speech and in recent years I have touched on War Artists.
War artists depict a variety of war experiences – it is a visual and sensory dimension of war - depicting the waiting, preparing, fighting, suffering, celebrating, worshipping, resting, the dead and the almost dead.
The Artist captured utter exhausted to total desperation. The gut wrenching sense of abandonment.
The artist brings an experience of war, whether allied or enemy, service or civilian, military or political, social or cultural.
Will Dyson first WWI war artist followed by recognised artists who had enlisted were later transferred to the War Artists’ team.
WWII the Australian War Memorial had its own designated official war artists, AND each arm of the services had their own war artists – Navy, Army and Air Force.
The Australian War Memorial in Canberra has over 30,000 works of art, it includes paintings, watercolours, drawings, prints, cartoons, illustrations, posters and sculpture.
The human dimensions depicted by the artists illustrate the horror of war upon the human soul. Nothing quite captures this mayhem, pathos and beyond exhaustion as does the artist.
Painter Ben Quilty and video artist Shaun Gladwell have been the Australian War Memorial artists in Afghanistan who have held exhibitions leading up to such Anzac Day remembrances.
Over the years I too have taken my paint brush and expressed such but never in my wildest hope would I be able to depict such without being there and embedded.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at