War is unhealthy for the mind, body, and spirit. As well as causing physical harm, it also does psychological damage, even to those not directly involved. Ordinary people like you and me are affected too. Just by hearing about it on the news, reading about it in the paper, and having to go through rigorous security checks when travelling, it all adds to the stress.
One way to release stress is through a creative outlet such as writing poetry or painting. Many professional artists use their skills to create protest pieces and social commentaries. One such artist is Noma Bar, an Israeli-born graphic designer and typographer who studied at the Jerusalem Academy of Art & Design before moving to London in 2001. Bar's art may be minimalist, but is also highly communicative; you can hardly fail to understand the message in each of his printed works.
Bar's most recent project, Cut the Conflict is on display at the Rook & Raven Gallery in Fitzrovia, and will be freely open to the public until the 21st December.
At this time of year, the exhibition is even more poignant. It has been less than a month since Remembrance day, and with Christmas coming up, we should all keep in our thoughts, the soldiers who are out on the field away from their families.
Noma Bar's 'double-take' imagery is reminiscent of picture puzzles in magazines, where you have to find a hidden image within the body of the main picture. The difference here is that the image is easy to spot.
A previous print that Bar made is titled Dog, which depicts a dog eating a cat, eating a mouse. This was the inspiration for 'The Dog Machine', an industrial die cutting machine that can cut a wide range of different materials. Bar has used this machine to cut out many of the shapes in his artwork, which has included material from areas of conflict.
People from conflicted countries donated items such as flags, letters, photos, newspapers, and fabric, which Bar has used to turn into a type of collage, in which these materials live in peace. For example, using flags from Bethlehem, Palestine, and Arik Prussak, he created a gun in the shape of a dove.
On the 7th December between 2pm-4pm, you can learn more about the techniques used, as Noma Bar provides a demonstration and talk about how he creates imagery from negative space.