Anzac Day 2020 will be unlike any other. For the first time, people will be unable to gather in their numbers to mark the Day. Instead, Australians are being asked to unite by standing in their driveways or living rooms at 6:00am for a dawn service with a difference. ⠀

At this solemn time, the JCG would also like to acknowledge the contribution of our ANZAC soldiers who fought and died for their country by looking back to one of the most significant exhibitions on our past program.⠀

From October 2018 until March 2019, the JCG marked the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day 1918 with the presentation of ‘Warship, the Glorious Decline of the Officers’ Library.’ This large-scale 14 metre long installation by acclaimed WA artist Jo Darbyshire in the shape of the AE1 – the first Australian Submarine which was laid down in 1911 – was constructed from over 300 book covers recovered from a disbanded library.⠀

The installation was about memory, the act of forgetting and remembering, but it also explored the aesthetics and provenance of the book covers, highlighting the absorbing titles and the texture and colours of the linen cloth that speak so resonantly of the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s. ⠀

Warship was shown alongside historical material concerning the AE1 submarine which was sunk off New Guinea in 1914 while on patrol with 35 crew after only 7 months service. ⠀

The JCG was thrilled that after the exhibition, ‘Warship’ found a permanent home at Shenton College in Shenton Park, WA. ⠀

Jo Darbyshire is an artist, curator and Curtin University graduate. Her practice spans over 30 years, during which time she has undertaken numerous public art commissions and been involved in solo and group exhibitions. ⠀

Image caption: Jo Darbyshire, Warship: The Glorious Decline of the Officers Library, 2018, mixed media (wood, cardboard, cloth, 300 book covers on plywood), courtesy of the artist, photo Eva Fernandez. ⠀