Oil on Linen
91 x 91cm
War is never two-sided and for those who haven’t experienced it firsthand, it is easy to make assumptions. One of the assumptions for me was the climate of military manliness. Fortunately, having had the privilege of hearing personal accounts of war both past and present, it was the extreme loyalty and friendships that provided a buffer in an unfamiliar world, the comfort, companionship and comradery that would be the anchor on which these men would depend in their darkest times that would become pivotal to the context of my work.
Anthropologists say soldiers form substitute kin networks, creating deep bonds that for some are never experienced before or after the war. Losing friends in battle, withdrawing and leaving kin behind, is incomprehensible to me. They suffered horrendous and ongoing losses. I have heard it said that ‘grief is the weight of the one you hold’, if that is so, then what is the weight of all those who have been lost?
The true measure of war is its profound and often dramatic response to it and if friendships are a product of their time and place, then this moment that I wish to share with you is a sacred one.