‘The Helmand Work’, a solo exhibition of films and photographs by British artist Mark Neville has opened in the contemporary art space of The Imperial War Museum (IWM), London, showcasing his new body of work created in response to the war in Afghanistan.
Metro is delighted to have produced seven large scale C Type prints
for the exhibition which features stills taken during the two months Neville spent on the front line of Helmand Province, Afghanistan between December 2010 and March 2011. Working as an official war artist Neville was often taken out on regular patrols with 16 Air Assault Brigade where he experienced the conflict at an unusual, first hand level.
Using a plate camera with multiple flash systems as well as slow-motion filming with traditional 16mm film, Neville has captured rich, grainy colours and textures in his work. The portraits of young Afghan children and British soldiers give an arresting, direct yet poetic view of the British troops and the Afghan people he encountered.
With over 60% of the Afghani population under 25 and a number of serving British soldiers still in their late teens, Neville’s images depict a military occupancy by young people of a country also populated by young people and children. Often emerging like phantoms from the landscape, alone or in pairs, these young Afghanis have obviously taken on adult responsibilities very early in life, mirroring the age of the teenage troops with whom they are engaging.
Created as part of a unique collaboration between IWM’s Art Commissions Committee and arts organisation firstsite Colchester, this exhibition is part of IWM Contemporary - a programme of contemporary art and photography in response to war and conflict.