ANZAC DAY MARAEKAKAHO

These four paintings (never to be separated) are about Anzac Day celebrated at  a tiny settlement called Maraekakaho in Hawkes Bay.

They happened fast and intensely, like a sudden visionary illumination of something deeply embedded in the New Zealand psyche. They leapt with startling force out of the misty web of memory, both conscious and unconscious,  that adds up to a New Zealand identity in a hundred different ways.They have endless associations.

They are an expression of two colossal forces at work and in collision. On one hand violence, grief horror and the ghastliness of war on the other the enduring peace of a countryside which seems to say “all this is nothing to do with me"  From behind the fence animals watch the ceremony, particularly the bull , mystified and alien to the titanic struggle depicted. The grass smells warm and sweet, and like the symbol of something hopelessly optimistic, the skylark sings on. The two forces are inextricably mingled and temper one another. We are left with a humbling and purifying acceptance of sacrifice on a truly spiritual level. The song of the skylark seems to overcome human tragedy and lifts us in Binning's famous words “into immortal spheres”.
 

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