Artists protest against the horrors of war at Coventry gallery

Photo Op by Kennard Phillips, part of the Herbert's new exhibition, Caught in the Crossfire.
Photo Op by Kennard Phillips, part of the Herbert's new exhibition, Caught in the Crossfire.

VIEWERS can be taken on a challenging journey through areas of conflict in a new exhibition at the Herbert in Coventry.

Having opened last week as part of the gallery’s contemporary art season, Caught in the Crossfire: Artistic Responses to Conflict, Peace and Reconciliation, features historical and contemporary works by more than 30 artists.

Exploring how artists grapple with the brutality of war and the desire for peace, the display will take the viewer from the home front to the frontline and back again, as seen through the eyes of artists, soldiers and people affected by conflict.

Throughout the 20th century and continuing today, artists have responded to the experiences of people, communities and countries suffering the brutality of war and conflict but also striving for peace, reconciliation and friendship.

Caught in the Crossfire will encourage visitors to explore and debate issues including the impact of conflict on both the home front and the frontline, the aesthetics of violence and machinery of war and the division of land and separation of people during conflict.

Viewers will also be led to think about attempts made to prevent war through protest, resistance and action and the aftermath of war where hope emerges and lives are rebuilt. A section of the exhibition focuses on the work of an artist known as kennardphillipps, who created artworks in response to the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

kennardphillipps said: “In the context of this exhibition, we hope that our work will connect with art against war from the past and show how, as artists today, there are new ways to protest against the horror of war in the present.”

Works on display are drawn mainly from the Herbert’s collection. The exhibition is a Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Collecting Cultures’ project in partnership with Wolverhampton Art Gallery, while new acquisitions are supported by V&A purchase grant, the Art Fund and the Henry Moore Foundation.

Entry to the exhibition, which is on until July, is free.

The Herbert is holding a programme of ‘exhibition extra’ events, starting with an artist’s introduction talk on February 19, when curator Nicola Gould will take visitors on a free hour-long guided tour of the works on display. There will also be a free curator’s tour on February 23, when Nicola will give people an insight into how the works were selected.

For the full programme and to book places for events, call 024 7628 4774 or go online.