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Looking Back and Looking Around: Notes from Anzac Day

Connah Podmore


In April 2015, artist Connah Podmore partnered with the charitable trust, Friends
of Anzac Bridge, to run a community art project for the region’s Anzac Day
commemorations. Over a series of open workshops, participants were invited to
write messages from themselves to Anzac-related subjects on supplied postcards.
This process revealed many of the symbols and expressions now inherent to
Anzac commemorations, with many participants using this Anzac rhetoric in
their written messages. In this paper, the author examines the social, historical,
personal and political guiding forces behind Anzac rhetoric, and the impact
that this rhetoric has had in the community project and more broadly across
New Zealand. This first-person commentary discusses the desire to remember,
and some of the perceived problems arising from what currently is a nation-wide
movement of First World War centenary commemorations.