Guards at ease – Beaufort War Memorial

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The logs, a cedar trunk split longitudinally, have been picked up from the yard next door to Irene’s place in Beaufort and transported to the Dancing Bear studio. First cut was made this morning.

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This is a pair of sculptures. They are portraits of soldiers in ANZAC WW2 uniform, standing with their heads bowed and guns resting downward, on the left foot.

The carving work began on Australia Day 2017 and is to end on ANZAC day in ceremony.

At home we talk a lot now about nationalism, colonialism and the motivation for going off to war.

The twin masks of tragedy and comedy communicate the message, “The show must go on.” We make a reference to Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”. where the narrative skips back and forth between the war between the Russians and the French which is alternatively glorious and devastating and the peace activities of family life and hob knobbing at parties which range from delirious joy to abject misery, but mostly exist in a state of awkward agitation.

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Dean’s grandfather, Ronald Victor Smith was a Warrant Officer 2nd Class in the Australian Army during World War 2. He served in Borneo. After the war he remained in the army at the barracks at St.Kilda Rd, Melbourne. Then built churches in Yarraville. He shot himself at the age of 50.

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What can we really know about people we never met?

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