Recovering the Past

National Exhibition Register

  • #Flanders 3777
    Ian Alderman #Flanders 3777, 2018
    Digital photograph

About the exhibition

Recovering The Past is a unique, timely and Australian focussed photographic exhibition of 25 thought-provoking images. With the signing of the Armistice the guns of the Great War fell silent; the consequences of that conflict on Australian society itself were only just beginning.

This powerful photographic exhibition documents the consequences of the Great War on Australian society in the post-conflict era. In a series of poignant accompanying quotes sourced from Australia’s archives, the tragedy of its shell-shocked and traumatised returning soldiers, its war widows and grieving mothers of lost sons are laid bare.

In modern day Flanders, a military operation continues to clear the former Great War battlefields of the millions of unexploded shells that still remain in the ground. With the bomb disposal personnel of DOVO-SEDEE about to embark on their second century of continual bomb disposal operations in Flanders, the consequence of unexploded ammunition to the population of this region will remain a lethal hazard for many years to come.

Inspired by the work of Australian artistic icons photographer Frank Hurley and artist Will Longstaff, each of the exhibition’s image’s are a montage of two groups of men; the personnel of the Belgian army’s bomb disposal team and archival images of men of the Australian Imperial Force.

Produced over a six-year period, artist Ian Alderman was given unprecedented access to the operations of DOVO-SEDEE to produce this project; it will remain forever unique in being the only art project produced for the centenary commemorations of the Great War that document’s the work of an ongoing military operation specific to that conflict.

Previously exhibited at the United Nations in Geneva, and - in Flanders itself during 2017 - as a component of  the centenary commemorations of Passchendaele, in 2018 it was awarded significant funding by the Queensland government’s Anzac100 grants scheme.

With the centenary commemorations of the Armistice themselves now behind us, we are presented with a timely opportunity to explore the social aftermath of a conflict that affected Australian society in the subsequent decades. A stand-alone project with that post-conflict narrative at its core, Recovering The Past has no peers.

Artists and Curator

Ian Alderman

Ian Alderman

Available Dates and
Exhibition Details

Available dates
01/06/2021 - 31/12/2025
Exhibition size
Between 50-75 sq or running metres
Originating state
$3,900 (inc. freight)
Web Site
Primary contact
Trudie Leigo
Producer & Touring Agent
0439 807 960
This project is proudly supported by the Queensland Government.