The Anzac Pair
National Army Museum
Te Mata Toa
The Anzac Pair exhibition comprised two bronze sculptures in The Odyssey Collection, Gallipoli and Birth of a nation, moulded from a First World War New Zealand lemon squeezer and Australian slouch hat respectively. The sculptures are intended to interrogate the foundational myths and national identity narratives of the Anzac legend and negotiate between acknowledging sacrifice and critiquing the use of the past for nationalist and warfare purposes.
Gallipoli conflates Homeric and New Zealand martial mythology located in the Aegean, while Birth of a nation investigates contemporary events impacting on Australia's sense of self and international reputation. Exhibiting in a military museum (and particularly in the Medal Repository and the Valour Alcove) invited a 'dialogue' between the artwork and museum objects on display. A catalogue with essays by Ian McGibbon, Peter Stanley, and Kingsley Baird accompanied the exhibition. The latter’s essay discusses the two works against a backdrop of the genesis of Anzac 'mythology' and its perpetuation, including in contemporary exhibitions.