WA Museum/Museums Australia & Anzac Centenary Local Grants Fund

25 April – 31st July 2018

York Residency Museum will be creating a major exhibition for the Shire of York to commemorate the Centenary of Anzac during the period 2014-2018. It is a regional partner in the W.A. Museum’s State wide programme ‘Remembering Them’ which will facilitate the creation of exhibition graphic panels and showcases of museum objects to be shown in York Town Hall. The subjects covered will be wide ranging and encompass York’s contribution to the war effort both through Service personnel and its effect on those who remained behind.

The Museum has been successful in obtaining additional funding to bring another dimension to the above exhibition in the form of an installation of one hundred life size silhouette figures to be placed in the Town Hall. This is intended as a very powerful evocation of actual real people from York who were affected by WW1 including servicemen, women and children. Some of these figures will be photographic images but many will be silhouettes, when no image is available. On one side of each silhouette will be a montage of relevant imagery and stories of the person; for instance, if a serviceman was a railway worker pre-war there might be historic imagery of trains and biographical details. The public will be able to walk amongst and all around the figures and each one will bring home the fact that every single person involved was not just a statistic of war but a real person. The installation as a whole will fill the Town Hall as if one hundred people were standing there; it will be at once both poignant and hard-hitting reality that will evoke the human stories of WW1 in a manner that nothing else will do in quite the same way.

It is intended to involve as many aspects of the community and areas of the Shire as possible. There has already been extensive research about the effect of WW1 on York – for instance, over 600 servicemen with links to York have already been identified plus civilian stories.

What we hope to do is involve people in ‘adopting an Anzac’ figure that has a link to them.

The museum will facilitate community involvement through outreach sessions, coming to talk to people and raise interest in getting people involved in low-key, fun ways, such as photography of linked places. Due to the historic nature of York, its old-established families, strong Noongar culture, abundance of historic buildings and long-standing clubs and societies, there are a wealth of links waiting to be explored.

Flatpack figures that will not take up much room and are easily stored will be made in batches during 2016 and 2017 and be shown for a period at the organisation’s venue, or in the Shire Library, shops in town, etc., then all come together in 2018 at York Town Hall, with the conventional exhibition. We hope that this will engender involvement from the widest cross-section of the community and will shortly be calling for people to nominate WW1 individuals to be turned into silhouette figures.

An application is in progress for CAN [Community Arts Network] Catalyst ‘Create’ grant funding to enable running a number of community arts workshops for public participation, using photography and visual arts and including an Indigenous art perspective. Outcome expected by July 2016.

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