Thursday, 09 November 2023
The Association of Totally & Permanently Incapacitated Ex-Service Men and Women (SA Branch) Art Exhibition opening
I am honoured, as your patron, to be with you today to open the inaugural TPI South Australian Veteran Art Exhibition, entitled “Reflection.”
Through art, we tell our stories; stories of what was or what could be. Art transforms our thinking, and reorientates our perspectives. Art pays tribute to what we hold dear. It has the power to heal.
The works in this exhibition by outstanding professional veteran artists resonate deeply with our values: those of honour, sacrifice and artistic expression.
The artists, through various mediums, enable us to delve into the unique perspectives that veterans bring to the arts space – their resilience, triumphs, sacrifices and strength.
The exhibition provides us with a window to their world, one where the artists honour their service and investigate their memories with creative vigour.
It stands as a tribute to those who have given their all in service to our nation.
Today, as I join with Doug Baird, to unveil the portrait of his son, Corporal Cameron Baird VC MG, who was killed in operations in Afghanistan in 2013, we collectively honour his exceptional dedication, courage and valour.
In the wider sense, he stands as a beacon for us to pay tribute to the indominable spirit and courage of all those who bravely have or continue to serve our nation on the frontline. For that, we remain eternally grateful.
As we honour Corporal Baird’s legacy, we also honour the broader narrative provided by art through his portrait and the exhibition’s pieces.
We can connect with the artists’ voices, their memories and experiences. We can see into the hearts of our veterans.
I hope, as you do, that this exhibition will change community perceptions of the role of veterans’ art.
While such art is a form of therapy, adjustment and expression of emotion, it is fundamentally an authentic contribution to our nation’s cultural heritage.
Through the exhibition, we can reflect on stories waiting to be heard; sometimes raw, sometimes emotional, always enlightening.
Stories of our veterans waiting to be understood. Stories waiting to inspire change.
I commend TPI South Australia for standing shoulder to shoulder with veterans living with disability and their families for the past 86 years.
Your support, assistance, and advice is given in the true spirit of mateship.
I thank everyone involved in organising this exhibition and I too hope it will be a vital symbol of our commitment to Remembrance every year.
Lest we forget.