Western Front, 1917

Australian War Memorial


The design of this major exhibition in the Special Exhibitions Gallery of the Australian War Memorial was a collaborative joint venture with Jisuk Han of XSquared Design.

It covers the worst year of WW1 for Australians with 76,000 ‘diggers’ killed, wounded or maimed as they fought from Bapaume to Passchendaele, through France and Belgium in some of the worst weather for 30 years.

The magnitude of dead and wounded in 1917 is extremely difficult for contemporary viewers to comprehend requiring a robust interpretive rationale.

The catastrophic number of Australian casualties in 1917 was expressed as a large scale interpretive infographic making up the introductory map of the exhibition. Measuring over 5m x 3m, what appears at first glance to be simply a texture is revealed to be made up of human figures… 76,000 of them. To stand in front of this map is to be confronted by the truth.

The tone of the exhibition reflected the muddy reality of 1917 and the denuded landscape of Flanders after an horrific year. The exhibition was then punctured throughout with markers indicating key dates of carnage for the Australian forces.

Design Director 2D: Lea Barnett
Design Director 3D: Jisuk Han
Creative Director: Peter Campbell
Fabrication: Definitive Group