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Impressions Gallery

exhibitions: past

Bringing the War Home

Group exhibition

17th Sep - 14th Nov 2010

Peter van Agtmael, Sama Alshaibi, 
Farhad Ahrarnia, Lisa Barnard, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Edmund Clark, Kay May, 
Asef Ali Mohammad, and Christopher Sims

The exhibition rejects the assumption that war photography depicts dramatic moments of combat captured by heroic male photojournalists, instead offering new approaches and techniques. These include the viewpoints of women, non-combatants, and Iraqis and Afghans; amateur and non-official imagery such as soldiers’ graffiti and personal digital photos; and work reflecting the far-reaching effects of war away from the battle zone.

Peter van Agtmael (USA) records the darkly comic graffiti made by and for US soldiers in the toilets of an army airstrip in Kuwait, one of the transit points for Iraq. Sama Alshaibi (Iraq / Palestine) uses her own body to enact the wounds and scarring suffered by citizens of her homeland. Farhad Ahrarnia (UK / Iran) digitally manipulates and hand embroiders photographs of young American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lisa Barnard (UK) portrays ‘Blue Star Moms’, mothers with sons or daughters serving in the US military, and their ‘care packages’ - donations of mundane consumer products sent to troops. Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin (South Africa and UK respectively), embedded with British troops in Afghanistan, reject the camera in favour of exposing photographic paper to the sun, creating abstract images that deny representation. Edmund Clark (UK) reveals the censored correspondence sent to former Guantanamo detainee and UK resident Omar Deghayes, which includes incongruous postcards featuring the Yorkshire Dales.

Kay May (UK) combines photographs of a family home, personal diary entries, Foreign Office communiqués and amateur digital images sent by her son in Afghanistan, to convey her experience as a mother of a Royal Marine. Asef Ali Mohammad (Afghanistan) photographs and interviews Kabul residents from all walks of life, offering complex and contradictory responses to American occupation. Christopher Sims (USA) depicts the surreal world of elaborate fake Iraqi and Afghan villages built by the US military in America’s deep South to serve as training grounds for soldiers prior to deployment.

Exhibition resources

Click here to download an information sheet about the exhibition (pdf 260kb)
Click here to download a large print information sheet about the exhibition (pdf 688kb)
Click here to download the Bringing the War Home Exhibition Guide (pdf 2.6mb)


Bringing the War Home published by Impressions Gallery draws together powerful photographic responses that connect both directly and indirectly with the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. With a foreword by Hilary Roberts, Senior Curator of Photographs at the Imperial War Museum, and essay by Pippa Oldfield, Head of Programme at Impressions Gallery and the exhibition's curator, this publication offers a valuable insight into new approaches to conflict photography. Available to buy in the Gallery Bookshop for £6.99. Click here to read more.

What the papers say

New Statesman
BBC News
The Telegraph and Argus
Arts Radar
Source Magazine (pdf 1.4mb)

Christopher Sims

Christopher Sims

Group exhibition

Click on thumbnail below to enlarge

Christopher Sims Edmund Clark Kay May Lisa Barnard Asef Ali Mohammad Sama Alshaibi Peter van Agtmael Broomberg and Chanarin (detail) Farhad Ahrarnia