WAR: A Playground Perspective
2016, Newington Armory, Homebush, Sydney
War – A Playground Perspective is a major new exhibition presented within the historic Newington Armory exploring the human propensity for violent conflict and war as seen from the perspective of 28 leading Australian artists.
According to a 2015 study conducted by the Institute for Economics and Peace there are only 11 countries in the world not involved conflict of some kind. This leaves much of the world exposed to or involved conflict defined on an escalating scale, beginning with skirmishes or clashes resulting in fewer than 100 deaths in the past year, and building to wars resulting in 1,000 – 9,999 deaths, to major wars where the lives of 10,000+ people have been lost within the last 12 months.
Understandings of war and the human impulse for conflict are at the core of this new exhibition curated by UNSW Art & Design lecturer Allan Giddy and graduate Nick Vickers and bringing together work by some of Australia’s most recognised and award-winning artists such as Official Australian War Artists Shaun Gladwell and Wendy Sharpe along with eX de Medici, and Sydney Peace Prize winner George Gittoes, who also holds an Honorary Doctorate from UNSW.
The Newington Armory at Sydney Olympic Park, which includes an interactive children’s playground, was the inspiration for the show. Visited by Giddy some months ago, he noted the unsettling irony of likeness between the playground and Australian military training fields. Some of the activities and facilities at the park aimed to provide fun for children are derivatives of the original combat training camps, including the massive climbing nets and jungle gyms.
This exhibition is an opportunity for artists to examine aspects of human nature that are deeply embedded in communal psyche – territorialism and conflict.
The artists featured in the exhibition include: Abdullah M I Syed (UNSW), Alasdair Macintyre, Allan Giddy (UNSW), Atanas Djonov (UNSW), Bonita Ely (UNSW), Ian Howard (UNSW), Jamil Yamani (UNSW) and Simon Rippingale (UNSW), Louisa Dawson (UNSW), Martin Sims (UNSW), Prudence Murphy (UNSW), Shaun Gladwell (UNSW), Rachel Levine (UNSW), Richard Goodwin (UNSW), Wendy Sharpe (UNSW), Adam Norton, Alwy Fahdel, Dacchi Dang (UNSW), eX de Medici, George Gittoes (UNW), Gunter Hojdyssek (UNSW), Halin Nieuwenhuyse (UNSW), Helen Sturgess, John Aslanidis (UNSW), Mark Booth, Thiru, and Tony Albert.