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The Sir John Monash Centre, in Villers-Bretonneux, France designed by Cox Architecture with Williams, Abrahams and Lampros will be opened by the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull today in France. Tomorrow, Mr Turnbull, French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe, and Prince Charles will attend the Anzac Day dawn service at the Australian Memorial that sits above the Centre.
The centre is very beautifully conceived and executed and I am in awe of what everyone involved has achieved. The attention to detail and the consideration with every aspect has made the centre an incredible place to learn more about Australia’s history before the war, why we went to war and how going to war changed the Australian psyche.
I feel so privileged to have worked on this project and am honoured to have been chosen to create an artwork that pays tribute to the more than 290,000 Australians that served on the Western Front as well as the more than 46,000 Australians who lost their lives. Using Sir Edwin Lutyen’s original interpretation of the Rising Sun Badge that proudly sits on the Australian Memorial in front of the Centre for inspiration, I created a 160 kilo cast glass sculpture in various shades of amber. Hand carving the surface, I incorporated textures reminiscent of the muddy battlefields and the surrounding terrain to bring the landscape into the artwork and remind the viewer of the human sacrifice of war. I hope my artwork provides some peace and light for visitors as it draws them into the courtyard after they leave the harrowing experience within the bunker. I am in gratitude to everyone involved as it took considerable effort from many hands to make the work and install it onsite.
The Rising Sun Sculpture was Commissioned through the Canberra Glassworks by the Australian Department of Veterans Affairs.
Images by Tim Williams.
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