War artist, Arabella Dorman, recently gave a moving lecture to students about her work with the British military and showed them portraits of soldiers and paintings of military action, as well as pictures of Afghans and Afghan life. She read from her diary a chilling account of her experience under fire in Iraq illustrated by her paintings. After Iraq she visited Afghanistan where the soldiers had passed beyond the chirpy bravado displayed in Iraq to a new level of exhaustion and apprehension. Families of soldiers killed in action have said that her painting is their most precious memento and Arabella attributes this to the power of the medium to capture something which no photograph can. Students learnt a great deal about war and art during the evening but also about our common humanity.
By Graham Banks, Head of English