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Ashley George Old

Visual Artist

Ashley George Old (b. 1913, d. 2001) was an artist best known for documenting the lives of prisoners of war forced to construct the Thailand-Burma Railway. He trained at Northamptonshire College of Art, then the Clapham School of Art. During World War II he was stationed in Singapore, and when it fell to the Japanese in February 1942 he was taken prisoner and sent to work on the aforementioned Death Railway. The brutal POW camp conditions and medical treatments in River Valley Road Camp, Changi Prison and Tamuan were documented by Old in a series of drawings and paintings. Many of these were buried in the ground and retrieved after the war. They eventually found their way to the State Library of Victoria in Australia where they form part of the Major Arthur Moon collection and can be viewed using the link below. Often the works are of horrific subject material but contain a haunting beauty. The Major Arthur Moon collection catalogue cover shows a painting of a beckoning hand titled 'Bomb wound (air attack)' and is compared in the narrative to Picasso's Guernica as a truly extraordinary image of war. Some paintings, such as the birthday card for Major Moon (also showing Edward  ( Wikipedia article )

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Personal facts

Date of birth
1913

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