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Lust Love Loss

Australian stories of wartime relationships

1 December 2021 to 20 November 2022

The complex issues surrounding matters of love and sex profoundly affect people everywhere, every day. Wartime is no exception. Indeed, the disruptive nature of war and the extraordinary situations it brings about magnifies human experience in these areas. 

Service personnel are sent to distant, often exotic, locales. They interact romantically with people they would never have otherwise met - however fleetingly. ‘Wartime morality’ - the fear that death may come at any time - undermines societal norms and lowers inhibitions, tempting people to pursue encounters or engage in behaviours they may not have considered in peacetime.

War kills and families mourn. The bereft must decide how they will cope - alone, or with new partners. War also traumatises, physically and psychologically. Coping with war’s aftermath tests even the most committed couples - wartime separation can easily become peacetime estrangement. 

Sex itself can be weaponised - sexualised imagery has served as a persuasive recruitment tool and a way to undermine an enemy’s morale.

Through artworks, photography and personal objects, this special exhibition explores the issues of lust, love and loss in times of war. 

Take a virtual tour of the exhibition

Lust Love Loss: Conversations

This three-part series produced by renowned broadcaster Megan Spencer delves deep into stories of Australian wartime relationships.

This podcast is also available on Spotify and other streaming services. 

In the news

Soldiers away and at play, in love and war
Christopher Allen, The Weekend Australian Review, 8 October 2022

At 14, her family sheltered an Australian soldier. It changed their lives forever
Tony Wright. The Age Spectrum, 10 February 2022

Lust Love Loss at the Shrine
Inside the Gallery podcast, 22 December 2021

Lust Love Loss: Australian stories of wartime relationships
Australian Arts Review, 1 December 2021

Lust, love and loss examined in our history of war
Michael Mackenzie, Life Matters, ABC Radio National, 1 December 2021

Why This Exhibition Exploring Wartime Love And Loss Is A Must-See At The Shrine Of Remembrance
Urban List, 13 May 2022

AMaGA Victoria Organisation Award Winner 2022

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