Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

Skip to content

By Repository

Australian servicewomen's memorial

Title
Australian servicewomen's memorial
Repository
Australian War Memorial Research Centre
Reference
ART90968
Date Range
1999
Creator
Ferguson, Anne
Description

Whereas more conventional war memorials may incorporate a cenotaph or a representative figure, Anne Ferguson has created a bare platform of coloured stones, divided in two by a curved trench that resembles an aerial view of a river, carving its way through a sparse, flat landscape. While most memorials encourage audiences to keep a reverential distance, to stand outside the experience of war and reflect upon it, Ferguson wants the viewer to walk right into the middle of the work, to experience a sense of empathy with the women it celebrates. The insignia of the women's services are displayed discreetly around the mosaic, because for Ferguson, ceremony is far less important than the human dimension. For many women, the work they undertook during the Second World War provided a first taste of freedom and responsibility. When the war ended and those jobs were given back to the men, it must have come as a bitter blow, because their lives and way of thinking had already been changed. It is this sense of metamorphosis that Ferguson has tried to capture in her stone mosaic, in which the variegated colours represent the different lives, the different backgrounds and experiences of servicewomen. Set in a peaceful grove between the deciduous trees, the sculpture changes the appearance in relation to the changes in daylight, the play of shadows, and the sprinkling of leaves that fall haphazardly onto the stone. Ferguson draws a parallel between the gradual process of awakening to the environment in which we live, and a growing recognition of the debt we owe to those men and women who gave their time, and their lives, in defence of this land. Her stone platform may be undemonstrative, but it has a feeling of underlying strength. It is a foundation upon which new recognitions can be built.
Granite mosaic 40.3 x 540 x 720 cm

Repository reference links are external links to the relevant catalogue record in the holding repository. If you experience a broken link it will be because the repository has not understood the value of maintaining persistent links and/or the judicious use of redirects. Try locating the repository's catalogue search and search on the records' creator's name and/or the repository reference number for the records.

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

© Copyright in The Australian Women's Register is owned by the Australian Women's Archives Project
and vested in each of the authors in respect of their contributions from 2000

http://www.womenaustralia.info/archives/AWH000842.htm

The Australian Women's Register is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

The Australian Women's Register is published quarterly by the Australian Women's Archives Project
ISSN 2207-3124