Art & Remembrance: An Inside Out art project for 2012

On the Culture Show tomorrow (BBC 2, 7:oopm) there will be a segment called “Art for Heroes”:

An examination of the role of art therapy in the rehabilitation of ex-servicemen suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Tim Samuels meets veterans of recent British conflicts in the Falklands, the Persian Gulf and Northern Ireland, who reveal their personal battle with PTSD as a result of their military career. They are now using an unlikely weapon to help fight the psychological wounds of war – art.

Visiting art therapy sessions, Samuels discovers how drawing, sculpting and painting are helping the veterans manage the symptoms of PTSD. Dr Lukas Konopka, a professor of neurology in Chicago, has investigated the effects of art therapy on the brain in the treatment of PTSD. The results provide strong evidence of art’s potential to heal.


It got me thinking about possibly one of the most common themes in art – particularly contemporary art – namely that of memory. I visited David Nash’s exhibition at Oriel Mostyn yesterday, a lot of which dealt with memory – “the anthropology of trees”, as the artist himself describes it.

I’m currently involved in working on a graphic novel with the organisation “Combat Stress” dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, and so I’ll be interested to see how the Culture Show addresses the use of art and art therapy in these situations. But, thinking about art and memory, I wondered whether there was a role for local artists to link up with local Remembrance events – bringing art and its experience with exploring memory to the post-conflict cultural landscape.

It’s too late to do much this year, I think – but what about next year? I’d certainly be interested in looking more at this idea – and linking it in with the work I’m already doing with Combat Stress. Would any Inside Out artists be interested in doing something on or around next Nov. 11th as part of an “Art & Remembrance” project?