Laura Webster checks out a few of Ben Quilty's painting's.
Laura Webster checks out a few of Ben Quilty's painting's. Blainey Woodham

Ben Quilty’s “After Afghanistan” on exhibition in the Tweed

BEN Quilty made his name when he won the Archibald Prize in 2011 for his portrait of Margaret Olley.

In the same year he was embedded with the Australian Defence Force troops serving in Kabul, Kandahar and Tarin Kowt.

His time on the front line became the basis of a series of paintings, The Australian War Memorial's touring exhibition: Ben Quilty: After Afghanistan, now on exhibition at the Tweed River Art Gallery from June 21.

The memorial's curator Laura Webster said Quilty had a way of getting under his subjects' skin.

Gallery Director Susi Muddiman said the gallery was "fortunate to be included in the tour of this challenging, and very moving, exhibition of works by Ben Quilty."

"Gallery staff and visitors have been anticipating the arrival of the exhibition for some time.

"The public may already be aware of the artist, as the paintings showcased in After Afghanistan were featured recently in two episodes of Australian Story on ABC television."

Mr Quilty was appointed as an official war artist by the Australian War Memorial in 2011, and deployed to Afghanistan from 11 October until 3 November.

His task was to record and interpret the experiences of Australian servicemen and women who are deployed as part of Operation Slipper.

Quilty says he was profoundly affected by his tour of Afghanistan.

After spending more than three weeks talking to, and hearing about the experiences of, servicemen and women in Afghanistan, he felt an overwhelming need to tell their stories. He said Afghanistan was a "very emotional place."

"It exposes the basics of humanity right there in your face: matters of life and death, the biggest themes an artist could ever imagine," Ms Muddiman said.

Bookings are essential, so please contact the Gallery by phone on (02) 6670 2790 to secure your place for these events.

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