New exhibition explores British troops’ deployment experience

New exhibition explores British troops’ deployment experience

‘Behind the Bastion’, an art exhibition exploring the personal stories of British troops deployed to Afghanistan, will open to the public on Friday 9th June. The exhibition features new artwork by Ed Kluz and pieces created by veterans.

Led by Bishop Grosseteste University‘s Archaeology and History Programme Leader, Dr Derwin Gregory ‘Behind the Bastion’ is part of a wider project on vernacular ‘placemaking’ within the British military, exploring how British troops make operational bases feel like home while deployed overseas.

Dr Derwin Gregory said: “This project aims to bring together art, history, and military experience to uncover the often-overlooked stories of British troops deployed overseas.
“I hope ‘Behind the Bastion’ will generate new conversations about the personal experiences of troops and the impact of their built environment on mental health, and I look forward to sharing our findings with the public.”

The project has been made possible by the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund, a national partnership programme of over 20 artist commissions inspired by the heritage of conflict. Led by Imperial War Museums, the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund was created following the success of 14-18 NOW, the official UK arts programme for the First World War centenary.

Rebecca Newell, Head of Art at Imperial War Museums said: “Working with artists has been a core part of IWM’s practice since the First World War. Part of the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund, Behind the Bastion continues this important tradition, telling stories of conflict through new and thought-provoking ways.”

Artist Ed Kluz, who has been commissioned by the project for the temporary exhibition, said: “It has been such an honour to work with the veterans in carefully exploring the profoundly complex experiences of serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. I knew from the start of the process that the pace and lines of enquiry had to be led by them – by the exploration and respectful acknowledgement of their trauma and testimonies in collaboration with our art therapist.

“The form of this piece references the watchtowers which are often found in war zones surrounding military bases. Here, though, rather than it being a structure from which a view is achieved by looking out, here perspectives and insights are gained by peering in.”

The exhibition is free to visit and will run from Friday 9th June to Sunday 20th August 2023 at The Stable Yard Gallery at Doddington Hall.

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