“AFTER the War” is a new exhibition opening today at Australian War Memorial that explores the personal and societal impact and legacy of war.
The exhibition explores the personal and social consequences of war over the past 100 years. It features a wide range of photographs, objects, and works of art, letters, and documents predominately drawn from the memorial’s own collection.
“These are personal stories of hope, loss, and love,” memorial director Brendan Nelson said today, praising the exhibition’s “raw honesty about the impact of war”.
It also posed some vital question, he said, such as how do you celebrate a victory at the cost of so many lives? How does a mother rejoice in a victory in which she lost her sons? How do servicemen and servicewomen resume a normal life after witnessing the brutality of war? What is the true, hidden cost of war?
“After the war” depicts stories like those of Augustus Keown, the first double amputee to try an adapted car after World War I, Bombadier James Braithwaite, one of only six Australians to survive the Sandakan “death marches” and the family of David “Poppy” Pearce, the second Australian soldier killed on operations in Afghanistan.
Assistant curator of the exhibition, Kerry Neale, says that while the end of World War I did not bring lasting peace, it brought a need to commemorate and reflect on the cost of victory.
“The ’After the War’ exhibition examines the aftermath of all wars in which Australia has been involved since World War I. It is unusual in that it begins with an ending. The fighting on the Western Front had stopped by November 11, 1918, but Australians still had to deal with the consequences of the war ,” Dr Neale said.
“After the War” is now open to the public at the Australian War Memorial and will run for 12 months.
All images courtesy of the Australian War Memorial