Hopes and Dreams

Oil on Wood

45 x 65cm

As Australians were called up to enlist in WW1, young men around the country anticipated with high hopes their imminent adventures into new lands and experiences. This diptych captures in the first panel the fervent patriotism and palpable excitement felt by two such young men, donning their army uniforms for the first time, before heading off to war. The second panel is an imagined, psychological portrait of the one surviving young soldier some time later. The composition is based on a famous etching by Goya (1799) depicting the artist collapsed in slumber, overcome by nightmares. Widely interpreted to symbolise the angst of clinical depression, the scene is here reimagined across time, cultures and contexts to represent the dashed hopes and deep trauma of so many returned Australian soldiers.