Shaun Gladwell: Afghanistan


Shaun Gladwell was the Australian War Memorial's official war artist in 2009 in Afghanistan.

Start Date

10th Jul 2013

End Date

13th Sep 2013


Academy Gallery A, Inveresk campus, Invermay Road, Launceston.

Exhibition opening speaker: Mr Geoff Lyons MP, Member for Bass
Exhibition opening: 5.30 - 7pm Wednesday 10 July
Exhibition dates: 11 July - 13 September 2013
Exhibition curator: Warwick Heywood, Art Curator, Australian War Memorial
Exhibition artist: Shaun Gladwell

Video artist Shaun Gladwell travelled to Afghanistan as the Australian War Memorial's official war artist in October 2009.

For several weeks Gladwell travelled through Afghanistan and numerous bases in the Middle East. He was attached to the Australian Defence Force which undertakes a range of training, logistical, reconnaissance, and battle operations as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. His task was to record and interpret the experiences of Australian servicemen and women who are part of Operation Slipper. His commission continues a distinguished tradition of official war art, which was established during the First World War. His use of the video medium is the first in the history of the scheme.

Gladwell’s contemplative yet beguiling videos focus on the bodies and movement of everyday soldiers, and the way they are trained to observe and quickly respond to foreign environments. The exhibition will also display a series of photographs and paintings that appear to target a single soldier and place him or her within the harsh and ancient Afghanistan landscape. Gladwell creates experimental portraits that explore the training and customs soldiers bring with them to international combat zones.

A video portrait of Victoria Cross recipient Mark Donaldson will be another exhibition highlight. Donaldson was awarded the medal for action in Uruzgan province in September 2008 that resulted in him running 80 metres across exposed ground to rescue a wounded interpreter. Gladwell’s portrait is a meditative study of Donaldson within a Black Hawk helicopter, gazing out across an Australian landscape. Gladwell is interested in the psychological and physical preparation that goes into shaping an elite soldier.

Gladwell is an internationally acclaimed video artist and his signature works explore the movement and style related to various sub cultural groups, like skateboarders or break dancers. Gladwell represented Australia at the 2009 Venice Biennale, with a series of works that draw from the Mad Max movies and explore the Australian outback.
The Academy Gallery, University of Tasmania is delighted to partner with the Australian War Memorial in presenting Shaun Gladwell: Afghanistan.


UTAS Open Day Exclusive Weekend Viewing Opportunity Shaun Gladwell: Afghanistan
Sunday 25 August 12.00 - 4.00pm
Special viewing on Sunday 15 September 12.00 - 4.00pm

Gallery hours: Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm | FREE Admission