British artist in Canada, 2001-2009 including work related to War on Terror; war artist with Canadian Forces Artists Program attached to Multinational Force & Observers in Middle East, 2009
REEL 1 Background in various places, 1964-1996: family including artistic background; visits to museums and galleries; art during secondary education; initial plan to join Merchant Navy and reason for not doing so; work undertaken; leisure activities; periods in US and Australia including work undertaken, forays into art and journal kept.
REEL 2 Continues: period in Canada with future wife including decision to attend art college; art education at Parsons School of Art in New York; education and work in London including at Bethlem Royal Hospital; details of education at Wimbledon Art College including installation and performance artworks produced involving Marlboro advertisements and the Waterloo & City Underground Line.
REEL 3 Continues: undergraduate course undertaken at Cheltenham and Gloucester College including evolution of performance and installation work. Aspects of period as civilian artist in Vancouver, Canada, 1996- : initial work in Buffalo, New York; details of 1998 piece, Luxury Avenue, 1998 including work for Imperial Tobacco and display of work; details of text-based artworks and residency at Banff Center; period at graduate school including reactions to 11/9/2001 terrorist attacks in US; background to and details of Armchair Terrorist and the Seats of Power series.
REEL 4 Continues: further details of Seats of Power series including audience reactions; details of artwork Ambivalence Boulevard including venues and cities performed at; discussion of politics as performance; politics in Canada, 2005, including links with War on Terror and role as peacekeeper since Second World War; performance artist work as part of the Alberta Scene in Ottawa, 2005, including at Canadian War Museum; discussion of artwork Ambivalence Boulevard; details of the performance and recording of Ambivalence Boulevard.
REEL 5 Continues: influence of war artists; details of The Project for the New American Century and artistic reaction through Grabbed; knowledge of Canadian Forces Artists Program; Canadian war art during First and Second World Wars; work of Canadian Forces Artists Program from 2001 including pilot programme, Apollo, influence of William MacDonnell and comparison of work of Canadian Forces Artists Program and Imperial War Museum; details of application to join Canadian Forces Artists Program, 2007.
REEL 6 Continues: further details of application; details of paper, Art in the Face of The Project for the New American Century, and its presentation in Australia including reply to application from Canadian Forces Artists Program; conflict areas available to work in and choices made; other artists working at same time with Canadian Forces Artists Program; details of liaison between Canadian Forces Artists Program and armed forces; make-up of selection committee; reasons for losing interest in being posted to Kabul; details of interview with Maple Leaf journal and 2008 Canadian federal election; offer of posting to Middle East; details of UN presence and situation in Middle East; initial offer that Averns refused; details of Multinational Force & Observers; contract signed; financing of trip; call made to UN. Aspects of period as war artist with Canadian Forces Artists Program attached to Multinational Force & Observers in Middle East, 2009: journey to and activities in Cairo including panoramas of Arab-Israeli conflicts in 1967 and 1973.
REEL 7 Continues: journey to North Camp, Sinai, including impressions of area, health problems and military zones in Sinai; border between Gaza Strip and Egypt at Rafah including tunnels dug under border; arrival at North Camp; prior knowledge of arrangements; role of Multinational Force & Observers in Sinai; presentation given on artwork; constraints on work; talks about activities while at base; later publication of article in Calgary Herald; success and work of Multinational Force & Observers; proximity to and activity on Gaza Strip; impressions and influences gained from North Camp including from military signage and ammunition amnesty; history and details of North Camp; medical treatment received; supply of water; scenes photographed around camp.
REEL 8 Continues: further details of North Camp including signage relating to security levels and water supply; scenes and photographs taken following shooting at base; description of flight from Cairo to Tel Aviv; journey to and scenes in West Bank; art in Israeli Defense Force Museum; visit to Irgun Museum in Jaffa including background of guide; art and articles produced since visit; discussion of war art programmes in different countries; details of work produced following deployment; talk with guide at Irgun Museum.