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Garian Mural

Posted by
~~~Ann~~~ (Nelson, New Zealand) on 24 August 2013 in Art & Design.

This is a photograph of a deteriorated slide taken by my father in Gharyan, Libya in 1956. Written in pencil on the paper slide mount was the clue "Garian Mural." A quick search on Google led to this image and excerpt from the diary of the artist, but it's clear that my father's picture isn't of the Lady of Garian.

Further searching uncovered a book called, Global Oil Finder: Autobiography of a Petroleum Geologist, by Frederick Kelly. Fred wrote on pg 203 of his book:

"Our favorite village in the mountains was Garian, which had a nice hotel with a bar and restaurant. While in Garian we always made a trip to the ruins of a World War II field hospital, just out of town, to see the famous "Ladies of Garian." In 1943 Clifford Saber, a volunteer American ambulance driver with the British Eighth Army created three expertly drawn murals of nude ladies inside the walls of the buiding in red paint (some said it was blood). The most famous mural covered a large wall and portrayed an enormous naked woman lying on her side, American pin-up style. The upper outline of her body was in the shape of the coastline of North Africa with towns and cities labeled; and all over were humorous little figures of soldiers, paratroopers, bombs and airplanes."

Further digging turned up this photograph by Mark McCarthy, of what must be the third of Saber's murals. You'll notice the feet at the right bottom of my father's picture are the same as those at the left bottom of Mark's photograph.

OLYMPUS E-M5 1/100 second F/6.0 ISO 500 43 mm

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Doug from Burnham-on-Sea, United Kingdom

What an amazing find Ann and a great discovery among your fathers slides, how awful that they used blood to paint it

24 Aug 2013 7:51am

@Doug: Well, it's not clear that they used blood! Could just have been hype. Hope so anyway.

Tede from Aubenas 07, France

Une fresque superbe avec un zeste d'érotisme, magnifique image. Bonne journée.

24 Aug 2013 9:49am

Helen from Melbourne, Australia

How extraordinary! Isn't it amazing how one thing leads to another sometimes?
I am also amazed by the synchronicity of you perusing your father's old slides. I have just been viewing some slides my father took out from Wadi Halfa in Sudan!

24 Aug 2013 11:23am

@Helen: Having fun with the old slides. I'm using a retro Minolta Mini 35 projector to preview and select slides and digitising them using a set up that involves mounting my camera with macro lens on tripod over a small light table.

Harry from Apex, NC, United States

Interesting detective work.

25 Aug 2013 2:10am

Tracy from Waipukurau, New Zealand

Great work Ann. How amazing to have the slides as photos. And the quality is good too.

25 Aug 2013 4:28am

mark bradley from hartlepool, United Kingdom

going through some old suitcases for a friend of mine and came across
this small photograph , on other side is
“other garian ladies “ ?

26 Dec 2017 10:55am

@mark bradley: Curious to see the photograph. Can you post it?

OLYMPUS E-M5
1/100 second
F/6.0
ISO 500
43 mm

libya
1956
vintage
mural
garian
slide