shrine.org.au

Opening 1 December 2021

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, personal objects and programs, this special exhibition will explore the issues of lust, love and loss in times of war. 

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

Reviewed 15 November 2021