This piece is a composite work, that is, there are several images incorporated into it. It has been executed in a contemporary style. It is based on an image I took in our local town, during the annual 'Spring Festival Parade'. There is quite a strong group in Australia, of men and women, who commemorate our cavalry, known as the Light Horse Infantry, by donning the uniforms of the first world war, outfitting their mounts in historical saddlery and participating in community events.
It's a sight to engender feelings of patriotism and pride in the contribution of our soldiers in wars we did not start, but which needed to be fought to protect the freedom and values we hold dear.
There were two riders side by side in the original image and I chose to ghost the second one as a reminder of those men and horses who never returned to our shores. The foreground image is overlaid and faded into an historical image from the archives of the War Memorial of an actual Allied desert camp during the 'Great War'. The poppies are a more modern reminder of the sacrifices made by the men and women who have served Australia in times of war, both those who went overseas and those who kept the home fires burning.
War is not for celebrating. The sacrifice of the many who fight for their families and their country, is.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables at home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.
The 'Ode of Remembrance' from the poem 'For the Fallen' written by Laurence Binyon. Read as part of Remembrance day services all over the world.
We need to remember
We need to hold on
To all of those memories
Of those who are gone
Lest we forget
The roll of honour
And what they sacrificed in the end.
So remember the scarlet flower
The little red poppy
That never died on the battlefields
Like the memories of all our countrymen
We wear them close to our hearts
Like the little red poppy...