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Official artist, photographer to record Australian service in Iraq.



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The Hon. Danna Vale MP Minister for Veterans' Affairs Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence

Media Release

Friday 11 April 2003

VA027

OFFICIAL ARTIST, PHOTOGRAPHER TO RECORD AUSTRALIAN SERVICE IN IRAQ

Archibald Prize winner Lewis Miller and Walkley Award winning photographer David Dare Parker will shortly leave Australia for the Middle East to officially record the service of Australian Defence Force members in Iraq.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Danna Vale, said the Australian War Memorial had appointed Lewis Miller as its official artist to Iraq, while David Dare Parker was the AWM’s first official war photographer to be appointed since World War II.

“Official artists have been a vital part of our wartime history, capturing often thought-provoking images of Australians on the front-line, away from the battlefield and on the home front.

“Since the INTERFET operation in East Timor in 1999, the Federal Government, through the Australian War Memorial, has revived the practice of sending official war artists to work alongside ADF members deployed overseas.

“This has resulted in acclaimed exhibitions of images from East Timor and operations in Afghanistan, Diego Garcia and the Persian Gulf during the War on Terror.

“The addition of an official photographer will bring an important new dimension to the historical record of Australia’s service in the war on Iraq,” Mrs Vale said.

The Minister said Lewis Miller was well-known for his figurative and portrait work, receiving commissions both in Australia and internationally. Mr Miller won the 1998 Archibald Prize for his portrait of fellow artist Allan Mitelman and has works in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

David Dare Parker has an international reputation as a photojournalist, working on assignments including Jakarta and East Timor in 1999, the Gaza Strip and the Middle East. Mr Dare Parker won the Walkley Award for Best Feature Photography in 1997 and has also been awarded the McGregor Prize for Photography and Canon Editorial Photographer of the Year.

“Both are experienced artists with a high reputation in their respective fields and will make a valuable contribution to Australia’s wartime record,” Mrs Vale said.

“Mr Miller and Mr Dare Parker are expected to work throughout the Iraq theatre, accompanying deployed ADF units under the general supervision of the Defence History Unit.

“It should be remembered that they will also be exposing themselves to the same risks as armed ADF members in the field and as such I would like to express the Government’s appreciation for their commitment to their work and to bringing to the Australian people important images of our ADF members serving in Iraq.”

Media Contact: Rachael Thompson 02 6277 7820 or 0417 265 289