BEN QUILTY,
LEESA KWOK, THE LONGEST WAR

2016, 265 x 202 cm, oil on canvas.

In 2011, the Australian War Memorial commissioned Ben Quilty as an official war artist. He was attached to the Australian Defence Force in Kabul, Kandahar and Tarin Kowt, recording and interpreting the experiences of service personnel deployed as part of Operation Slipper. Five years later, Quilty was commissioned to paint portraits of the families of Australian soldiers who were either killed or suffered post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their service in Afghanistan. Leesa Kwok’s husband, James Tanner, served in East Timor, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. She has been open about the struggle of living amid this condition. In making his portrait, Quilty wanted to express how Leesa and her family continue to live with the consequences of her husband’s service. Its effects are an intense, constant presence in her life. See this work, and the rest of the national collection, in Canberra.

For more information on this collection piece visit: awm.gov.au/visit/exhibitions/InCanberra