April 7, 2015
Murgon artist Lee Porter has been selected as one of this year’s finalists for the international Gallipoli Art Prize.
The competition has run annually since 2006 in both Australia and Turkey to commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign.
It was first announced by the then Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, in April 2005 and will conclude its 10-year run when this year’s winner is announced on April 22.
This is the second time Lee has been selected as a finalist in the competition, and she said today she was honoured to have her painting ‘The Saddest Farewell’ included in the final Gallipoli Art Prize.
Her picture shows a soldier who is about to go into battle saying goodbye to his horse.
“As an owner and lover of horses, I can’t imagine how hard it would have been to leave behind a faithful friend that had saved your life so many times,” Lee said.
“I know the horses used for the Light Horse Brigade were called ‘Walers’ because my grand uncle bred and trained those horses for World War I.
“Walers were an intelligent and obedient breed very well suited to the regiments of soldiers on horseback, and they proved themselves on the battlefield over and over again.
“I don’t know that I could have left behind my beloved companion. Many soldiers shot their horses instead of leaving them to a harder life in the fields.”
Lee says she has tried to capture the last private moments between the soldier and his horse in the shadow of his hat, pale faced and dreading the final, saddest farewell.
The painting is not her first with an Anzac theme to draw public attention.
Last year ‘What’s Left Behind’ – a painting which showed the personal possessions of WWI diggers left hanging from their knives in a trench after they’d gone “over the top” to an almost certain death – won the South Burnett Regional Council’s Acquisitive Art competition.
Lee’s current major project is Dual Arts, a collaboration with Murgon photographer Sherianne Talon, which is attempting to capture 20 iconic South Burnett scenes in painting and on film to settle the century-old question about whether or not photography can really be considered art.
The Dual Arts exhibition will be unveiled in Kingaroy in August.
- Related article: Anzac Tribute Wins $1000 Prize