Art can have the extraordinary ability to release emotions too difficult to verbalise and at the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre at Tedworth House veterans from recent conflicts have been able to express themselves through their art. A (mostly) retrospective exhibition of some of their work is being held at The White Horse Gallery between 27 February and 4 March.
Curated by Wiltshire-based artist Jenny Arthy the exhibition displays painting, drawing, sculpture and poetry. Jenny delivers art as a theraputic activity at Tedworth House, and the exhibited works were created there by servicemen and women while recovering from both physical and mental injury.
‘Repatriation’, the work shown above is by Sgt Tom Stimpson MBE, who, after serving twenty six years in Royal Air Force came to art whilst at Tedworth House. ’Repatriation’ was the first drawing he completed and was the start of his art journey.
For Tom, ‘’Art allows the mind to go into a flow state to forget the experiences and traumas of War zones to find an inner peace for the mind, body and soul’’.
Tom has given talks at the Royal Academy describing his journey with art and in general, art as a therapeutic activity. He has taken part in many events and exhibitions.
‘Gasmask’ is by Richard Cave, who served in the Army with three tours of Iraq, one tour of Afghanistan and countless operational posts around the world. Discharged with physical and mental injury Richard eventually received a diagnosis of PTSD, and initially he could only communicate with his therapist by drawing his mind.
On his first session in the art room at Tedworth, he drew an incident in Bosnia (‘Grenade’) that had haunted him for 21 years. It was the first time he had publicly acknowledged his demons, he felt a burden had been lifted from his shoulders and this put him back in touch with the art he had loved so much before joining the Army.
Richard now has a studio where he draws paints and sculpts, he says that without the support of his art he would be lost to a world of isolating drugs, he is now getting his life back together and hopes to be back working with CGI a firm interest of pre- army days.
The exhibition ‘Art at War’ runs from 27 February to 14 March at The White Horse Gallery and admission is free.