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Veteran Stories Showcased In War Memorial Exhibition

Story: Alyssa Mackay | Photo: Australian War Memorial
Published On : Mar 19, 2024
Veteran Stories Showcased In War Memorial Exhibition
A touring exhibition from the Australian War Memorial has arrived at the Redcliffe Museum just in time for Anzac Day.

The Ink In the Lines exhibition explores the personal stories and experiences of Australian veterans, told through the medium of tattoos.

City of Moreton Bay Mayor Peter Flannery said more than 70 portraits vividly captured the essence of 21 Australian servicemen and servicewomen, revealing their identities, commemorations, traumas, bonds, and the unique experiences that shaped their lives.

“It is important for us to showcase travelling exhibitions of this calibre in our museum,” Mayor Flannery said.

“Not only can we display these beautiful and intimate photographs but we’re also able to share a deeper understanding of the lives and stories of Australia’s modern war veterans.”

In 2018, the Australian War Memorial invited servicemen and servicewomen with military-themed tattoos to share their stories through oral history interviews and portrait photography. Many of these stories and images now feature in the Ink In the Lines exhibition.

The tattoos chosen by these veterans serve as a means of self-expression, identity and belonging, and a way to commemorate relationships, process grief and honour lost friends. They are conversation starters and share a common purpose – to remember.

“Every tattoo has a story behind it, and in the Ink in the Lines exhibition, Australian veterans tell their own stories,” Mayor Flannery said. “It’s not just about why they got the tattoo, it’s about what it means to them.

“One of the most impactful stories is told by Kylie from Woombye, who explains how her tattoos have helped her manage PTSD and move forward in her life.”

The exhibition has already seen great success at Redcliffe Museum, attracting more than 130 visitors in its first week, including veterans and their families, tattoo enthusiasts, students, disability and aged care groups and RSL members from across South East Queensland.

To complement the exhibition on Anzac Day, the museum will be showing recorded interviews with several Moreton Bay veterans who served in the Vietnam War.

“For our younger visitors, we also have craft activities like poppy making, which can then be displayed on the museum wall,” Mayor Flannery said.

The exhibition runs until Sunday, 12 May.

Visit the Ink In the Lines exhibition during Redcliffe Museum’s opening hours, Wednesday to Friday, 10am to 4pm, and Saturday to Sunday, 10am to 3pm.