Along the ride to Damascus
Oil on canvas
58 x 120cm
In 1918 following the battle at Beersheba, allied forces including Australian Light Horse battalions advanced towards Damascus, the last stronghold of the Turks. At this time, the Light Horse, at their request, were issued with swords requiring weeks of intensive cavalry training adding to their existing impressive skills. Historians have written of the battle at Quneitra on 28th September where The Australian Light Horse, with swords drawn, attacked the Circassion cavalry, killing, wounding and taking prisoners. Two days later, the Light Horse charged the Ottomans ‘with the sword’ causing the terrified enemy to turn and run.
Today, this Light Horse sword, scabbard and leather-bound whale bone whip are stored safely and securely, and presented only on occasion. It has been my art practice in recent years to rediscover items such as these: precious, meaningful items that are locked away and in danger of being forgotten. My ambition is to ‘relove’ them by bringing them briefly into the light and, with careful handling, reimagine them in paint on canvas. This sword now has a new alternative life. The stories it evokes are retold, conversations are had, and information shared. We remember, lest we forget.