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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

All that fall

Sacrifice, life and loss in the First World War

Previous exhibition
from Friday 27 March until Sunday 26 July 2015
All that fall exhibition walkthrough
Video: 7 minutes

Focussing on the wide-ranging theme of loss and absence, this exhibition provides a moving ‘portrait’ of loss during the First World War on the Australian home front. Powerful symbolic images, including contemporary works, evoke the emotional intensity of loss. All that fall: Sacrifice, life and loss in the First World War is the National Portrait Gallery’s contribution to the Anzac Centenary.

Recruitment posters offer a febrile portrait of the pressures brought to bear on Australian men. As the war dragged on and the paralysing impact of the dead and maimed took its toll, divisive conscription debates targeted women, contributing to a fracturing of national community.

Australian sound artist Lawrence English has created two related sound-works. An immersive soundscape tints the exhibition space. A multi-channel sound installation includes spoken names of the 11th Battalion, the first to fall at Gallipoli.

In Theodora Cowan’s proposed memorial the dying Anzac is lying in the arms of Death, with female Destiny nursing a baby, a young boy representing Love and the Angel of Immortality holding aloft a torch. Canberra-based artist Ellis Hutch has created an installation as a poetic and evocative response to the intent of Cowan’s memorial.

The dead were buried far from home. Most graves would never be visited by the immediate family. The absence of the non-returned is evoked in spare and haunting landscape photographs devoid of figures by Canberra-based artist Lee Grant.

The living body is brought back to us in video portraits. The National Portrait Gallery collaborated with the actors and creators of Black Diggers to produce video portraits commissioned for the exhibition.

Video credits: music by Trokai

4 portraits

1 Quick! (reproduction), 1918 by Norman Lindsay. 2 To our glorious dead for the national life (proposed memorial), by Theodora Cowan. 3 Have you forgotten yet? 2014, by Lee Grant. 4 Crucifixion of Civilisation (halftone reproduction 1932), by Rayner Hoff.

Related people

Dr Christopher Chapman (curator)

Related information

Miles and Arkie, 2015 by Clint Peloso
Miles and Arkie, 2015 by Clint Peloso
Miles and Arkie, 2015 by Clint Peloso
Miles and Arkie, 2015 by Clint Peloso

Shop Talk

Magazine article by Stephen Phillips, 2016

Angus and the arbiters talk (photo) shop for the National Photographic Portrait Prize.

Have you forgotten yet? 2014 by Lee Grant
Have you forgotten yet? 2014 by Lee Grant
Have you forgotten yet? 2014 by Lee Grant
Have you forgotten yet? 2014 by Lee Grant

All that fall

Magazine article by Raimond Gaita, 2015

Raimond Gaita comments on war and truth in the context of the First World War.

Layne Beachley
Layne Beachley
Layne Beachley
Layne Beachley

Collection: Icons

Volume One

Previous exhibition, 2018

When a portrait communicates determination and individuality as boldly as these do, it has the potential to become an iconic image. For the Gallery’s 20th birthday this display brings together a group contemporary photographic portraits of inspiring women and men.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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