Your Friend the Enemy features artwork by 16 significant Australian and New Zealand contemporary artists and commemorates the ANZAC legend and the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign. It originates from a series of letters written by Idris Charles Pike, the grandfather of painter and participant in this project, Idris Murphy. Over 100 letters sent by Pike from the trenches of Gallipoli to his sweetheart have only recently come to light after nearly 100 years hidden from view.
In the letters, Pike wrote about the closeness of the Turkish trenches, describing the traffic of goods between the Australians, New Zealanders and Turks, and bore witness to an extraordinary relationship between enemies. He documented how the Turks would haul tobacco and papers over no-man’s-land into the ANZAC trenches in exchange for biscuits and jam. On one particular occasion, the Turks politely wrote a note in French thanking the Australians for the goods, signing off “from your friend, the enemy”.
Transcript of letter by soldier Idris Charles Pike, Gallipoli, 1915
My dearest Violet,
I received your welcome letters by today's mail and was very pleased hear you received my letters quite safely from Egypt, as I used to write regularly every week. We had some fun in the trenches this morning, as you know only a few yards separates us from the Turks, so we threw some tinned beef and jam over to them, they soon raked them in to their trenches, and in return they threw tobacco and cigarette papers. A couple of the parcels had notes in them written in French, one ran something to this effect. Your Friends the Enemy. We received your preserved meat, and send in return tobacco-- would be pleased if you could send souvenir, and we will do the same, could you spare a good knife we would be pleased. Your soldier Friends Turks. We threw them a knife and got some more tobacco and papers.
We finished up with a message saying that we were going to end the armistice in a quarter of an hour by throwing a bomb and after that it was on as usual. By the way they write you can see they have a great respect for us. Well about yourself, you say you have your old complaint coming on again. That is no good you must look after yourself more. I would have liked to have been with you at the picnic, I bet you did enjoy yourself alright. I had a letter from the club last week and they sent best wishes, also saying they would be pleased if we were back with them again as they have had some enjoyable times lately. Must leave now as two pages is the limit.
Kindest regards to all at home. Au Revoir Forever yours . Charlie. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas. Sorry I can't get up for tea Xmas day, can't get the day off, too busy.
Most of the participating artists -Deirdre Bean • Elisabeth Cummings • Steve Lopes • Guy Maestri • Euan Macleod • Idris Murphy • Michael Nock • Peter O’Doherty • Susan O’Doherty • Stanley Palmer • Amanda Penrose Hart • Leo Robba • Luke Sciberras • Michael Shepherd • Jonathan Throsby • John Walsh - have a direct link to relatives who served at Gallipoli, they all travelled together to Turkey in April and May 2014 on a painting and research expedition, concentrating on Istanbul and Gallipoli, which is informing this exhibition of paintings – made both en plein air and back in the artists’ studios.
Your Friend The Enemy, curated by John McDonald, coincides with the ANZAC Day centenary commemorations.
Photo credit: Robert Linnegar
John McDonald Artists experience inner battle during Gallipoli visit Sydney Morning Herald 25 April
BBC World News Australia story on Idris Murphy
Sunday Afternoons @ the Gallery
Sunday 19 April, 3pm - Curator talk with John McDonald
Join John McDonald, curator Your Friend the Enemy, as he discusses his journey to the Anzac battlefields with the artists.
Sunday 26 April, 3pm – Journey to Anzac Cove
Join expedition artists Leo Robba, Susan O’Doherty and Peter O’Doherty in conversation with Owen Craven, editor Artist Profile magazine as they discuss the challenges as artists with the Gallipoli legend and its landscape.
Sunday 3 May, 3pm – A Gallipoli Story
Join artist Idris Murphy for a fascinating story about his grandfather, Gallipoli soldier Idris Charles Pike, along with historian Dr Brad Manera from the Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park, Sydney
Sunday 17 May, 3pm – Painting Anzac Cove
Join landscape painters Euan Macleod, Amanda Penrose Hart and Steve Lopes as they discuss their exceptional body of work for this exhibition
Sunday 24 May – Painting ‘en plein air’ in a foreign landscape
Join artists Guy Maestri and Luke Sciberras in conversation with Richard Morecroft, and filmmaker Bruce Inglis for a discussionon the challenges of painting en plein air in a foreign landscape
Join us for the Artists Profile Gala Dinner, buy your tickets here
Special Offer from Sydney Observatory
Each day at 2.30pm each day during the exhibition (17 April-24 May) Sydney Observatory re-create the night sky over Gallipoli on the day of the landing Sunday 25 April 1915.
Exhibition visitors will receive half price admission to the Planetarium $5 (instead of $10 full) or $4 (instead of $8 concessions) on presentation of their entry ticket.
A parallel exhibition is on display concurrently at Drill Hall Gallery in Canberra displaying works from the expeditions to Gallipoli. The exhibition runs from 11th April - 17th May 2015
Your Friend the Enemy is proudly supported by