Bringing the War Home
Powerful photographic responses to the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Peter van Agtmael, Sama Alshaibi, Farhad Ahrarnia, Lisa Barnard, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Edmund Clark, Kay May, Asef Ali Mohammad, and Christopher Sims.
Conventional war photography depicts dramatic moments of combat captured by heroic male photojournalists; Bringing the War Home offers 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.
An Impressions Gallery Touring Exhibition curated by Pippa Oldfield
Our visitors say...
“What a fantastic show! Deeply compelling, every artist presenting a new angle – no dogma but still painfully poignant – factual but also exposing new facts with resonance and empathy… A very slow and thoughtful experience.”
“A really interesting unique selection of work. Interesting to see war photographs with no conflict in. Makes you consider what we really know about what goes on in war. Particularly like Sama Alshaibi’s work, beautiful photographs and a hard hitting concept behind them.”
“This exhibition is the most moving exhibition I have ever been to. I’m from an army background and have so far tried to run away from anything to do with war. This exhibition has somehow enabled me to move on from my personal experiences with war. I thank all the artists involved in making the exhibition; you are brave, creative and inspirational. Thank you.”