Title: Left, Right, Left, Right
Medium: digital images printed on plywood
Dimensions: 28.5 cm x 14.65 m
These photographs are of the 2014 Anzac Day Parade in Albany, Western Australia. The March went down York Street, the main street in Albany, to the Anzac Peace Park where the Anzac Day service was held. I stood at the side of the street, about half way down, and kept my iPhone trained on the passing legs of the marchers, taking a photo at frequent intervals. I was interested in the action of walking, and in documenting this event for which many sections of the community, across generations, come together. I have always had an ambivalent attitude to Anzac Day and the march. As a Girl Guide, in the 1970s, I remember telling my grandfather that I was going to march in the local Anzac Day march. His response was “Why would you want to do that?” My grandfather had served in World War Two, in the Northern Territory. Having not served overseas, he was not eligible to join the Returned Servicemen League (RSL) and was consequently not eligible for any of the benefits that RSL membership brought. He never took part in Anzac Day events and saw it just as a waste of a day when many men spent too much time at the pub.
My father, who was in the navy but fortunately never had to serve in a war, was also not interested in Anzac Day, an attitude which was not particularly unusual in the 1970s and 1980s.
So I grew up without much regard for Anzac Day. Now, Anzac Day is a major event, in which many people participate as marchers or attendees. The fact that the march is now embraced so fully by schools means that the bulk of the marchers are under 17 years of age. What are they doing? What do they make of it? The photographs capture the action of walking, focusing on the legs, feet and shadows on the road. The anonymity of the marchers speaks of the anonymity of war statistics. It made me think of soldiers marching, of the futility of massed humanity marching onwards, to what, to where?
An artist and curator from Albany, Western Australia, Annette Davis holds a Masters of Philosophy and Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from University of Western Australia. In her art and curatorial projects, she likes to consider the layers of history of a particular place along with the contemporary experience of that location. Walking, and the documentation of walking, is one of the ways in which Annette investigates a location. “Left, Right, Left, Right” continues her interest in walking and what it represents.