Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander personnel remembered in the work of Indigenous Artists

‘For Our Country’ and ‘Yininmadyemi – Thou didst let fall’ are public artworks that commemorate the experience and contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in military service. Both are on view in Canberra and Sydney, respectively. Not only are these memorials historically significant, they are aesthetically and conceptually brilliant monuments from leading artists with growing international reputations – Daniel Boyd and Tony Albert.

‘For Our Country’
Daniel Boyd

‘For Our Country’ takes the form of a sculptural pavilion, includes a ceremonial fire pit and contains soil from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nations across Australia. The artist has said it reflects a deep connection to land, intergenerational storytelling and offers a bridge to ‘understanding the sacrifices made to seek a system in equilibrium.’

It is located in the Western Precinct of the Outdoor Exhibition Area of the War Memorial in Canberra. It was created by Daniel Boyd, a Kudjala/Gangalu/Kuku Yalanji/Waka Waka/Gubbi Gubbi/Wangerriburra/Bandjalung man from North Queensland, and Edition Office architects.

From the front of the pavilion visitors see a wall of two-way mirrored glass covered in thousands of transparent lenses that reflect the viewer and the Memorial. These lenses are a reoccurring design element in Boyd’s work, representing our perception and highlighting our incomplete understanding of time, history, and memory – AWM

Read more about the artist and his work at the Australian War Memorial here.

‘Yininmadyemi – Thou didst let fall’
Tony Albert

Tony Albert was the first Aboriginal Australian official war artist in 2012. His grandfather, a member of the 2/15th Battalion of the 9th Division, has long been an inspiration for the artist.

His work ‘Yininmadyemi – Thou didst let fall’ was commissioned by the City of Sydney and stands in Hyde Park in the CBD as part of the Eora Journey a program, which honours living culture and heritage of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Sydney. The work is comprised of four standing bullets and three fallen shells; representing those who survived and perished in conflict.

This public artwork restores Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heroes to their rightful place in the canon of Australian war history from which they have vanished – David Hurley, the former chief of the defence force.

Read more about the artist’s inspiration and the work in Hyde Park here.