The 2017 Gallipoli Art Prize and the Gallipoli Artist

Well it seems that me, The Gallipoli Artist will take part in the prestigious Australian artist’s competition The Gallipoli Art Prize. 40 finalists will be selected by the judges. The artist’s work will be exhibited in the Gallipoli Memorial Club in Sydney between the 10th and 28th of April. The judges will then choose from these forty pieces of art and the winner will be expected to be in Sydney in May for the $20,000 first prize.

Through lots of support and opinions on several of my pieces we, and I mean WE, because I feel this has become a group effort have decided on my Hidden French Gun of Cape Helles as my entry.

Looking over the previous winners I’ve noticed something unique in my art. Most of the entries are from artists and art students who have never visited the battlefield. Artists who copy century old photographs and postcards. I feel that my art is ‘documentary’, it shows the everhanging landscape of Gallipoli. The battle may have been fought 102 years ago but the war is still raging between the tragedy of the battlefield and Mother Nature’s effort to reclaim the wonderful landscape. Mother Nature is winning the war!

Included with my piece is a description of the piece which I feel brings a story to this ongoing campaign……

“The Hidden French Guns of Cape Helles

Just a few years ago a farmer was clearing his land across the road from the Cape Helles Memorial. To his surprise and that of the local authorities he uncovered a long lost French gun emplacement. He cleared the old gun pits and it became a source of fascination for historians bringing people to the spot.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. Later on the farmer uncovered two more guns and last year he finally cleared them of the blackberry bushes that had kept them hidden.

I chose one of the later discoveries. This gun lay in a shady pit surrounded by grasses and flowers and a shady tree. The moment I saw it I could imagine the French ‘Artilleurs’, with their colourful blue and red pom pom hats, resting in the shade of the tree and smoking their ‘megot’ cigarettes waiting for their orders for the next salvo across the Dardanelles to the Turkish guns on the Asiatic shore.

I’ve wandered the Gallipoli battlefield for thirty years and know every trench, gully and ridge. My art is my legacy of this place, where nature is winning the war.

Roachie”

So if you happen to be anywhere near Circular Quay in April please ccome along  and laud over my creation.

Thank you to all involved… THIS IS FOR ALL OF YOU!

Roachie The Gallipoli Artist

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The ANZAC COVE Series 2016 – 2017

Each year The Gallipoli Artist, me, Roachie will focus on a particular part of the Gallipoli Battlefield with the paintings I create. Life is about learning and as slowly as nature is taking  back the horrors of war on the peninsula, so does my art. Hopefully with every piece of art I create I move closer to my goal of creating an artistic legacy of this profoundly beautiful part of the world.

Here are the  first attempts of this latest series.

I hope you enjoy them and your opinions are greatly appreciated.

I hope to see many  of  you here on the battlefield over the next year.

Roachie – The Gallipoli Artist

The ‘Rusty Boats of Gallipoli Beaches’ series

Recently I’ve been a bit fascinated over the remains of old bits and pieces left over from the Gallipoli campaign along the beaches. So I decided to extend that fascination to actually painting some of the rusty boats that litter Gallipoli’s beaches.

There is a time of the year when the tide literally goes out for an extended period. During this time the sea reveals the secrets of the shallows, as if a new ghostly force has arrived and landed on our beaches. They stretch from the very northern point of Gallipoli at Suvla Bay to the very southern at W Beach….. and everywhere in between.

So I’ve painted a series called ‘Rusty Boats on Gallipoli Beaches’ which will feature separately at my exhibition at the Tusan Hotel in Canakkale over the Anzac period from 13th April until 30 May….. drop in if you’re in the neighbourhood!

Cheers,

Roachie      #GallipoliArt

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Suvla Bay wreck with the Greek island Samothrace in the background
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W Beach wreck, one of my favourites!
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Wreck in the surf of Gully Beach
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W Beach wreck
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Sunken barge off Anzac Cove
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Landing boat of Anzac Cove
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W Beach wreck from a different angle
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Gully Beach and waves crashing on wrecks.
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W Beach wreck, different view
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The Loch Ness Monster of Gallipoli, as I called it, this huge winch controlled the Submarine Net stretched across the Narrows. The net had steel strands 2 and half inch thick and dropped 200 feet to the sea floor. It remained near the surface until very recently.
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The ‘Beetle’ landing craft. The predecessor to the craft that landed at Normandy in WW2. Held 500 men and kit, armoured and bearing machine guns. Worked great in the August Offensive, would have been great back in April!

Plugge’s Plateau – Nature and the futility of war, all in one sad but beautiful place

My friends keep saying to me…… ‘Not another cemetery painting!’ Well unfortunately, to document Gallipoli, you can’t just stick to the pretty flowers and stunning vistas. This place has a tragic history combined with incredible natural beauty. Slowly nature is reclaiming the scared and bloody landscape. Few places represent this transformation as much as Plugge’s Plateau.

The fact that I paint lots of the memorials and cemeteries in this place is because I feel that as the world turns and constantly changes, we risk forgetting the bloodshed, heroism, fear and their lasting effect on our psyche. Artists landed with the first troops in April 1915. They documented the men in their uniforms and trenches in a battle where we, the Allies, the Anzacs invaded this peaceful peninsula. Not to occupy it’s farmlands, not to colonise it’s cities but as part of a plan to eventually end one of the most horrific events in our history, the First World War….. The ‘Great’ War…… The War to End All Wars! Sadly and in the words of Eric Bogle “It all happened AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN”

Never has there been a greater example of the futility of war. And as the world changes once again, world leaders seemed determined to perpetuate this sad history.

So a couple of weeks ago I had the great opportunity to once again walk the steep 600 metres from Shrapnel Valley to Plugge’s…… This time not by using a nice but steep walking track but by taking the route taken on the first day, in the dark hours past dawn, that the ANZACs took.

My friend Uwe Richter and I eventually cleared the scrub at the top of Plugge’s. As usual we were the only living humans present. There in front of us is the cemetery where only 14 graves lie. Charles Bean wrote of this place and these very men who lay mortally wounded, the medic telling him to save his water from his canteen because it would serve him better than these poor suffering wailing brave souls, so close to death.

Plugge’s is unique that there are only 14 souls buried here, they are all identified. The ground of the cemetery is laid with white pebbles instead of the normal green turf, simply because of the inaccessible nature of the place.

I hope that one day soon, before my old knees pack it in, that I can make this journey again, with you, the people who take an interest in my paintings, my passion for Gallipoli and as a lasting legacy into the futility of war.

Roachie   #GallipoliArt

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The Gallipoli Artist – First Gallipoli Art Exhibition.

The Gallipoli Artist, or as he is more commonly known….. Roachie will be holding his first ever Gallipoli Art exhibition at the Tusan Hotel in Guzelyali, (near Canakkale) over the Anzac period.

I’ll be acting as Historian for several Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours groups over that time and will be based in the Tusan. Thanks to my gracious hosts, Cecilia and Enver Yilmaz, I have been allowed to display and offer for sale some of my artwork.

The artwork is mainly Gouache/acrylic paint on grained paper, some are mixed acrylic and watercolour and some pencil and watercolour.

So please feel free to drop by between 13th April 2016 and 1st May 2016. I’ll be available throughout that time between journeys out to the battlefields and Troy. I’ll definitely be available most evenings for a chat and a quiet drink.

Most pieces are for sale and vary in price from 300 TL to 440 TL. If you have something in mind, something special you’d like painted in my style, and related to the Anzacs or Gallipoli…. or Turkey for that matter then please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Roachie

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