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The term war artist means an artist that has been commissioned to record military activities by a government or quasi-government organisation.

In Australia, the Australian War Memorial is the main sponsor of war artists. For most of the 20th Century, it has dispatched artists to accompany Australian Defence Force personnel into operational areas. The first war artist was arguably Will Dyson who in 1916 went to France at his own cost to be with the soldiers in the front line. Not only was he wounded twice, he did so without payment for the better part of two years. After his service, the War Artist scheme in Australia became more organised and a number of other artists were commissioned to undertake the same duties including such luminaries as Arthur Streeton and George Lambert.

However, the individual services - the Army, Navy and Air Force - also had artists from within their ranks, some of whom were made war artists. Ivor Hele was a Private in the 2nd Australian Imperial Force sent to the Middle East at the outbreak of World War Two. General Thomas Blamey summoned him to his headquarters in Cairo and told him to '... get out there and paint this bloody war!' The newly commissioned Captain Hele spent the rest of the war as an Army War Artist.

Ivor Hele also recorded Australian military activities in Korea but after his duties ended, the individual services no longer tasked their own personnel to be War Artists. However, in 2006, this was to change.

The Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Leahy, AO, requested Captain Conway Bown (see picture above) undertake the task of becoming the Army's War Artist and so in 2006, he was deployed to Iraq to commence recording ADF activities as part of Operation FALCONER.

Whilst in Iraq, he travelled with Australian troops within Baghdad and to the south of the country including the Security Detachment, 2/14 LHR QMI, 2 CAV REGT, 3 RAR, 5/7 RAR and AATT-I. He sketched and painted and photographed the men and women there and upon return to Australia began creating the major artworks requested of the Chief of Army.






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Independent Productions and Aviation Services is the website of Conway Bown, Australian Army Official War Artist and Aviation Consultant. Services include portrait painting and other portraiture, aviation services such as CRM - Crew Resource Management - and Helicopter Underwater Escape Training - HUET - which may include Emergency Breathing Systems - EBS - training using Helicopter Aircrew Breathing Devices - HABD - or Helicopter Emergency Egress Device - HEEDs.

During 2006, Conway Bown deployed to the Middle East as the Australian Army's Official War Artist, what the US Armed Forces call Combat Artist. This website features the artwork created during this project as part of the Australian Army's Official Art Scheme.

For more information on War Art, Combat Artists, Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET), Emergency Breathing Systems (EBS) or Crew Resource Management (CRM), please visit the relevant webpages:

HUET - RHO Aviation

CRM - RHO Aviation

EBS - RHO Aviation

Official War Artist - IPAS.