Every year, the humble, but well-loved ANZAC biscuit is packaged up into limited edition tins showcasing different designs, in what has become a collector’s item and an ANZAC Day keepsake.
Cory Rinaldi is the first veteran artist in residence at Sydney’s Anzac Memorial and is also the President of the Cronulla Sub-Branch. He served for almost 20 years in the Australian Defence Force and deployed to Malaysia, East Timor and Iraq.
Originally from Bendigo, he remembers his grandmother taking him as a young boy to an ANZAC Day service in the rural town of Inglewood.
"I just looked at the veterans marching and thought they’re amazing. These big, strong men, they were like superheroes. It sort of started the passion. I started playing soldier and said this is pretty much what I want to do one day."
A dream that eventually became a reality, but first Cory studied to be a graphic designer.
“I was lucky to do both of my passions.”
Despite being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2013, he says his service years were some of the best of his life, likening it to putting on a pair of socks – something that came so easily and naturally.
He has worked hard to overcome his mental health challenges, including with the help of his love for art, which albeit was a tumultuous journey.
“The worst thing about having a mental illness like this is for me, not being able to work. I then thought ‘well, I need to produce a certain amount of paintings a year to be able to provide for my family.’ So, I then went too far with it and was putting too much pressure on myself and had, not a breakdown, but I just closed in and lost all passion for art.”
A few years later, he picked up a brush once again and along came the opportunity to work as an veteran artist in residence, where he combines his love of art, architecture, and all things military for his artistic inspiration.
“It’s been a lifesaving opportunity…it changed everything.”
His growing presence in art circles and of course on social media, led to the very unusual opportunity to have his work Ghost of ANZAC Past printed onto the iconic ANZAC Biscuit tin to be sold in Aldi Supermarkets nationally.
"I wanted to create a similar feel to that of ANZAC Day. I didn’t fill the painting with heaps of ghosts but enough ghosts to show that they are bowing their heads. They’re paying their respects to their mates who have paid the ultimate sacrifice."
The original painting is an oil on canvas board, measuring 57cm by 80cm and on display in his new exhibition A Soldier’s Healing at ANZAC Memorial.