Art created by former servicemen as part of their recovery from trauma while being treated by Combat Stress is forming an exhibition at the National Army Museum.
“Reflections”, organised by us in commemoration of the Armistice centenary, features images that represent the psychological impact of war but also demonstrate that trauma can be overcome and there is hope of recovery.
The artwork will be on display at The National Army Museum, London from 19 to 30 October. Entry is free.
At Combat Stress, we encourage veterans with mental health problems to engage in creative activity to work through their memories of war. For some, art-making can provide much needed relief by channelling their thoughts towards peaceful topics. Others use the creative process to try to make sense of their traumatic experiences by releasing bottled-up emotions through their artwork.
Describing the recovery process, one veteran said: “For the first time in years, I felt good enough to exist and also good enough to paint.”
Janice Lobban, Senior Art Psychotherapist at Combat Stress, said: “We’re delighted that the National Army Museum is hosting the exhibition. We hope veterans will be inspired by it and encouraged that life can be rebuilt after the effects of trauma. Also, that visitors will enjoy seeing the breadth of talent represented.”
In support of the exhibition, the National Army Museum Development Trust will present a Templer Art Award to four veterans whose artwork is judged as outstanding.
The exhibition and awards ceremony mark the first of what will become an annual event in a new partnership between us and the museum.
Justin Maciejewski, Director at the National Army Museum said: “We are looking forward to supporting the Combat Stress exhibition; as a Museum we aim to tell the story of our Army through the individual stories of those who served in it. This showcase of veterans’ artwork is a valuable part of this, and something we are sure will resonate with our audience, particularly those who have personally given so much.”
For details about visiting the exhibition see www.nam.ac.uk/whats-on/reflections.