An Australian War Memorial touring exhibition
Reality in Flames explores the different ways in which Australian modernist artists responded creatively to the war, producing work which sought to comprehend cataclysmic events. It also provides a visual history of the period, revealing the war as a transformative force that altered Australia and the world.
Many of the works were created through the Official War Art Scheme, where artists were commissioned to record the experience of Australians fighting overseas or of home-front wartime activity – a tradition that began during the First World War and continues today.
Artists have always played a crucial role in recording and interpreting the Australian experience of war, and the works in this touring exhibition explore both the dangers soldiers faced abroad and the challenges war brought to the home front and to Australian society itself.
Image credit: Russell Drysdale (1912–1981), Soldier, 1942, oil on hardboard, ART92623. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.