Art under fire: Jules George's paintings from the Afghanistan war are exhibited



2015-06-26 12:29:25

Art under fire: Jules George's paintings from the Afghanistan war are exhibited

The artist was embedded with the British army and toured Helmand, but now brings his work to Bonhams

In February 2010 the Suffolk-based artist, Jules George, was sponsored by the Ministry of Defence to visit Afghanistan as an officially sanctioned war artist embedded with 2 Yorks (Green Howards), part of the 11th Light Brigade.

The results of his time in Afghanistan with the British Army will be exhibited at Bonhams in New Bond Street, London from Friday July 22nd to August 5th.

Writing about the Exhibition, General Julian Thomson, military historian and former Royal Marines officer who, as a brigadier, commanded 3 Commando Brigade during the Falklands War, says:

"Jules George's collection of Afghanistan paintings is aptly named, 'Into the Valley'.

Jules George talks about art in a war zone

"During his time in Afghanistan attached to the 2nd Yorkshires (Green Howards) operating in Helmand he was struck by the contrast between the stunning landscape, the fertile valleys, often teaming with life, and the ever present shadow of death.

"These two contradictory facets of the campaign in Afghanistan are arrestingly conveyed in his work."

The works range in price from 180 to several thousand. The artist has pledged to donate a percentage of all sales to the charity Combat Stress, Britain's leading charity which specialises in the mental health care of ex-service men and women.

Bonhams has stated it will match this contribution.

Sketching on the move and under fire was stressful and required a quick learning curve, George says. The experience has suited the raw energy evident in his signature documentary style which has taken him around the world.

His exhibition promises to attract a wide variety of interest.

George comments: "Any preconceptions I had before going to Afghanistan were based entirely on what I had seen in the newspapers and on television. But the reality was completely different. The stunning beauty of the landscape and medieval Afghan life, overcast, by the deathly shadow of war.

"Constantly you're pulled between the two: the contrast is simply incredible.''

"My work tried to convey the experience of what it is like to be on the frontline, the elements of fear and energy, the camaraderie and the determination of the troops. Because for every setback, for every friend injured, that makes them more determined to succeed. I have huge respect for these men and women."

While in Helmand, he went out on foot patrol, facing the challenge of walking, watching his step for improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and drawing at the same time.

On a subsequent patrol, George accompanied the Household Cavalry Regiment north to Musa Qaleh and to an outlying military post (PB Talibjan).

It was there where he was caught up in a fire fight with Taleban militants, who had laid IEDs for the patrol. One of them just missed the vehicle he was travelling in but two other vehicles were hit. On this occasion there were no serious casualties.

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