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Soldier art that shines a light ‘on life behind battlelines’ to go on display

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A prisoner of war’s chess board and a tiny matchbox house will go on display in an exhibition on soldier art.

Created In Conflict opens at Compton Verney museum in the spring to mark the centenary of the Armistice.

The exhibition, in Warwickshire, will show work made by soldiers from the 19th century to the present.

Curators said the 50 exhibits will reveal “intimate glimpses” of the lives of soldiers and “shine a light on life behind battle lines”.

Sapper Adam Williams painting a blast wall in Iraq (Nick Johns)

Other items include detailed quilts showing how making art was often an “act of both practical and emotional survival”, an oil painting of a recuperating soldier during the Crimea and toys made by convalescing soldiers.

The show will feature collaborations between veterans today and contemporary artists, and will look at art made for propaganda.

Experts said the work reveals “creativity, humour and the importance of domesticity, as well as experiences of wounding, death and loss”.

Compton Verney’s chief executive Steven Parissien said there had been “few opportunities to see a curated collection of art and crafts made by … soldiers themselves”.

He added: “In light of the centenary of Armistice and ongoing conflicts around the world today, Created In Conflict is an important glimpse into the humanity that lies beneath the horrors of war.”

Created In Conflict: British Soldier Art From The Crimean War To Today runs from March 17 to June 10, 2018 at Compton Verney.

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