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Black soldier Theme: Patriotic Duty

Artist: Lesley MURRAY
Birth/Death: 1968

Title: Black soldier

Credit Line: Gordon Darling Fund 1996. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

At first glance Black soldier 1994 by Lesley Murray is a familiar, albeit shadowy portrayal, of the archetypal Digger with slouch hat. Closer inspection reveals a rather intimate portrait of the artist's grandfather, who served in the Second World War.

Though this image represents a personal memorial, the soldier is nameless. The lettering banding the top and bottom of the image is perhaps a reference to the anonymity experienced by many Aboriginal servicemen, including the absence of their names on Australia's war memorials.

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