Soldiers in Afghanistan
1 October 2011 - 17 June 2012
Marking the tenth anniversary of the start of the war in Afghanistan, IWM North is presenting an installation by the artist Derek Eland – the latest in the Museum’s Reactions series where artists are invited to display work showing how war shapes lives.
The intimate and powerful installation has been created by the artist Derek Eland, a former paratrooper turned artist. On public display for the first time, it reflects on individual experiences on the front line of a contemporary conflict. From the remarkable to the mundane, the extraordinary to the everyday, soldiers from 16 Air Assault Brigade recorded their honest and personal thoughts on small pieces of card while on tour in Afghanistan last year.
Eland visited Afghanistan last year to create a ‘diary room’ experience for troops, providing them with blank cards and offering them the opportunity to write down their thoughts. The comments written on the cards are raw, honest and varied. The reality of everyday life for troops sits alongside emotional accounts written in the immediate aftermath of battle.
Images captured by Eland are also on display for the first time, alongside the artist’s diary and camera and visitors now have a unique opportunity to respond by leaving their own thoughts on the wall of the display.
Collections in Context
War in Afghanistan 2001-Present
British troops have been in Afghanistan since 2001...
Afghanistan in the Twentieth Century
For more than a hundred years, British soldiers, diplomats, and spies and their Russian counterparts competed for influence over Afghanistan in what became known as ‘the Great Game'...
From our Collections
ration pack, 'Emergency Ration', British Army issue
The 1/4th Battalion, the Royal Berkshire Regiment in the Ypres Salient, 1915
The Royal Navy during the Second World War: Operation Overlord (The Normandy Landings) D-Day 6 June 1944
badge, formation, Polish, 2nd (Warsaw) Armoured Division
Royal Engineers Collection
fragment of naval bunting
Liberation and Battle of France: The Fall of Cherbourg : the quayside and the Fort du Roule. 28th June 1944
Ministry of Information First World War Official Collection
Operation Overlord (The Normandy Landings): D-Day 6 June 1944