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Charcoal sketch of floating bodies and debris from AHS Centaur by Dean Bowen

Dean Bowen's Imagining Centaur

Celebrated contemporary artist Dean Bowen explores the tragic story of the sinking of the Australian Hospital Ship Centaur on 14 May 1943.

August 2020 - April 2022


Centaur Nurse II, 2013, Dean Bowen
Centaur Nurse II, 2013 by Dean Bowen, charcoal on paper, reproduced courtesy of the artist

The tragic story of Australian Hospital Ship Centaur, sunk on 14 May 1943, inspired a series of charcoal drawings by celebrated artist Dean Bowen. The beautiful, thought-provoking work underscores the horror of the violation while commemorating the 268 innocent souls lost, and the 64 brave individuals who survived.

Take a virtual tour of the exhibition

Watch the animation

The exhibition features a specially commissioned animation of Dean Bowen’s Centaur series of charcoal drawings by Japanese audio-visual artist, Ayumi Sasaki. 

The animation is a wonderful synergy of several creative minds, from two nations, once enemies now friends, which bring to life Dean’s beautiful, unsettling but ultimately hopeful vision. 

In the news

'I went right down': exhibition evokes story of horror and survival
Andrew Stephens, The Age, 7 August 2020

The pathos of Nurse Savage
Rhonda Dredge, Southbank News, 5 August 2020

Imagining Centaur
Dr Madonna Grehan, The Hive (Magazine of the Australian College of Nursing), No 31, Summer 2020

This exhibition is supported by the Victorian Government and the Victorian Veterans Council.