I am a writer and teacher, out and about in the world but with Nottingham never far from my heart.
An affecting look at the human side of the Afghanistan war
Images of war are a common site on our television screens and in our newspapers as reports filter back from front lines and conflict zones. However, despite this exposure, we still tend to maintain a sense of distance between our own daily lives and the lives of the soldiers and civilians we read about and see on TV.
In Our Own Words" is an exhibition that seeks to address this. The exhibition aims to put a human face to the names, ranks and battalion numbers that we see on the news. The centrepiece of the exhibition is Derek Eland's Helmand Project; a collection of poignant letters home from soldiers which are sometimes harrowing but are always - without fail - 100% human.
The effect is a reconnection with the troops in Afghanistan, and with the human aspect of the conflict which transcends all political beliefs and boundaries.
The exhibition is the result of Derek Eland's time spent as an official war artist, working alongside the British Army in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. While spending time with soldiers on the frontline, Eland gained international acclaim. Now, residents of Dorset, Hampshire and the south coast have the chance to see his spellbinding work for themselves.
Other works from Russell-Cotes' own collection – as well as some donated from Southampton's City Art Gallery – also feature in the exhibition which runs until March 10th 2013.