Australian Story - War Paint
Ben Quilty is an Archibald prize winning artist with a lifelong interest in concepts of masculinity - from youthful excesses with drugs, alcohol and fast cars to soldiers on the front line.
Going to war has always been Quilty's 'greatest fear' so it was with some apprehension that he accepted an invitation to work as the nation's official war artist in Afghanistan.
Getting to know the soldiers, including elite special operations troops, revealed to Ben Quilty a level of intelligence and a depth of emotional distress that he says shocked him to his core.
It forced him to reconsider his own 'anti-war' sentiments.
The painting sessions with soldiers have continued back in Australia and Quilty says he now has a dozen new lifetime friends.
He says he now feels a huge respect and a huge responsibility to help them tell their own powerful stories.
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