(Australian Associated Press)
Brisbane artist Amanda Penrose Hart has won the $20,000 Gallipoli Art Prize for her oil on linen painting, titled The Sphinx, Perpetual Peace.
The painting, which looms larger than any of the other 38 finalists on display at the Gallipoli Memorial Club in Sydney, depicts the rocky outcrop at Gallipoli Anzacs call “The Sphinx” which Penrose Hart visited twice before creating her award-winning work.
The Sydney-based artist was struck by the extreme landscape the soldiers faced and attempted to walk the hill on two trips but struggled to reach halfway because of the extreme height of the hills and sharp barbed wire-like vegetation.
“While we were there we saw quite a few remains, obviously Australian and Turkish and everyone who fought there. And every time it rains the top soil washes away so there’s more bodies exposed,” Penrose Hart told AAP.
“So we saw when we were dragging through the bush with all our gear quite a few body parts, it’s really awful.”
The painting took her about a year to complete and is her way to commemorate the soldiers who lost their lives and whose remains still lie on that hill, camouflaged by the vegetation.
“There were so many people died there and that’s why it’s so full of bones, and the vegetation grew and grew because there’s so much blood and bone in the hills,” she said.
The Gallipoli Art Prize is open to Australian, New Zealand and Turkish painters to submit works for the annual competition reflecting upon the themes loyalty, respect, love of country, courage and comradeship as expressed in the Gallipoli Club’s creed.
All the finalists are on public display alongside Penrose Hart’s winning painting at the Gallipoli Memorial Club at Circular Quay in Sydney from April 20 – 28.