(Above) Winter Peace. © Together, Anatol Just
Exhibition Preview - Art and Conflict at The Together Our Space Gallery, London until January 16 2009.
A new exhibition illustrating the psychological effects of war has opened in London.
Veterans from across the armed forces have contributed work to the Art and Conflict collection at the Together Our Space gallery, which has been organised by Combat Stress, a mental health charity providing treatment for former forces members at Tyrwhitt House in Surrey.
Cliffhanger. © Together, Anatol Just
The centre’s Art Therapist Jan Lobban, who has curated 30 images and sculptures into a journey through life from the point of trauma, explained:
“It is unusual for art therapy images to be exhibited as they form part of treatment, but the veterans are keen to highlight the issues expressed within their work so that it might help others and therefore have given permission for the work to be shown.”
Poems and explanations by the artists accompany their work, ranging from depictions of soldiers created with recycled materials to paintings of cliff-climbing combatants symbolising the struggle to rebuild life in the face of trauma.
Recycled Hero. © Together, Anatol Just
“For many veterans who are affected by trauma, words alone cannot describe the intensity of memory and feelings," added Val Huet, Executive Officer of the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT).
"Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may have far-reaching effects on their ability to communicate with others and on all aspects of their lives and relationships.
“Art therapy provides a non-verbal therapeutic intervention to safely explore the roots of the trauma, and can play a helpful part in coming to terms with painful experiences. As there is finally more recognition of the personal price some veterans have to pay in active service, we hope that access to such interventions will become more widespread.”
Art and Conflict opens to the public on December 2 and runs until January 16 2009. Open Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm. Entrance is free. Together Our Space Gallery, 12 Old Street, London, EC1V 9BE