ROSS TOWNSEND

Spirits of Hellfire Pass

Oil on Canvas

122 x 76cm

A trip to Thailand should not go without a journey to the Hellfire Pass Memorial. Whilst my wife and I were fortunate to walk within this historical site with no other tourists on the day we visited, one does not feel alone. The presence of the souls who suffered and died during the construction of the Thailand-Burma railway during World War II is very real in Hellfire Pass. Walking from the museum through the jungle along the walking trails and confronting Konya Cutting is overwhelming. Visitors can walk part of the railway bed, which I have depicted in my artwork, and humbly reflect on the excavation work achieved by the prisoners of war and heroic Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop, whose ashes are interred at Hellfire Pass and commemorated by the plaque.

I hope through this painting to give those who may never venture to the memorial, an understanding of the emotion one experiences at this soulful and peaceful commemoration to the spirits of Hellfire Pass and the story that should not be forgotten.

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