On 25 April, 1915 arriving almost straight from their training camps in Egypt beneath the Pyramids, the Anzacs named the towering rocky outcrop at Gallipoli ‘the Sphinx’; and it is this landmark that Sydney-based artist Amanda Penrose Hart chose to depict in her painting The Sphinx, Perpetual Peace – winner of the $20,000 acquisitive 2017 Gallipoli Art Prize.
In her accompanying artist statement Amanda Penrse Hart said, “My painting of the landscape that faced our soldiers who landed by boat on the morning of April 25th 1915. The extreme height of the hills and sharp barbed wire like vegetation slashed the men trying to advance over the hills. I walked this hill on two trips to Gallipoli and while in good shoes and good clothing I struggled to reach even half way. To some the land is now a mere tourist site, but to others it is a sacred burial ground. The trees have rejuvenated and the grasses spread like wildfire – they camouflage the thousands of body parts within.”
Penrose Hart has held twenty solo exhibitions and in a number of group exhibitions. She regularly has work selected in prizes such as the Portia Geach Memorial Award (2011, 2008, 2007, 2006) and the En Plein Air Art Prize.
Represented by King Street Gallery, Sydney her works are also included in public and private collections including Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney; Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, NSW; Brisbane Polo Club; Gold Coast City Art Gallery; Hawkesbury Regional Art Gallery, NSW; Redcliff Regional Gallery, Qld; Taronga Park Zoo, Sydney; and University of Sydney Art Collection.
Every year Australian, New Zealand and Turkish painters are invited to submit works to the Gallipoli Art Prize that reflect upon the themes loyalty, respect, love of country, courage and comradeship as expressed in the Gallipoli Club’s ‘creed’:
We believe that within the community there exists an obligation for all to preserve the special qualities of loyalty, respect, love of country, courage and comradeship which were personified by the heroes of the Gallipoli Campaign and bequeathed to all humanity as a foundation for perpetual peace and universal freedom.
Artists can interpret the broad themes in relation to any armed conflict in which Australia has been involved from 1915 up to the present day. The works do not need to depict warfare.
“The Gallipoli Art Prize continues to attract the support of the visual arts community who have once again responded with innovative works that preserve the best of the ANZAC spirit,” said judge Jane Watters. “The broad range of imagery represented in the Prize demonstrates the level of inquiry by the artists into the stories and people from not just the Gallipoli campaign but from other conflicts and also from daily life experiences.”
Penrose Hart’s winning work along with 38 finalist works will be on public exhibition at the Gallipoli Memorial Club, Sydney from 20 to 28 April, 2017.