Exhibition of Barry Walkins’ paintings at the Museum of Villers-Bretonneux [fr]
Barry Walkins donated his entire collection to the French-Australian Museum in Villers-Bretonneux, France, which exhibited it during the “Heritage Days” on 19 and 20 September 2020.
Thanks to his special interest for World War 1, Barry Watkins painted 19 portraits of soldiers who were awarded the Victoria Cross, plus Sir John Monash for his military service in WW1.
The exhibition of this collection is the completion of a long unplanned and unexpected journey that started more than five years ago. From a growing interest in WW1 and a desire to show his appreciation to those young men who never returned home, these paintings have now become a collection and a worthwhile experience for Barry Watkins. As a reference for each painting, he used photographs taken when the soldiers enlisted.
“I feel the collection is now at home where it belongs, especially when some of the soldiers in the collection are still there”, says Barry.
Barry Watkins is a former medical representative with a pharmaceutical company now retired living in Perth, Western Australia
After the murderous Dardanelles (Gallipoli) campaign in 1915, the Australian Expeditionary Force fought on the Western Front : in 1916 in the Somme (Pozières) and in the North of France (Fromelles); in 1917 on the Hindenburg line (Bullecourt), and in the Belgian Flanders (Ypres and Messina); then again in the Somme and in the Aisne in 1918. That year was the most significant as the Australian Brigades stopped in Villers-Bretonneux the German push during a deadly fight on 24, 25 and 26 April. This saved the city of Amiens from been caught.
M. Jean Mroz et M. Yves Taté, administrateurs du musée