‘ART IN THE AFTERMATH’
re opens on July 24th 2020, Tuesday to Saturday 11-5pm
at KINGS WALK , GLOUCESTER
Style for Soldiers was founded 10 years ago by Gloucester based menswear designer Emma Willis MBE in response to the severe casualties returning from Afghanistan in the height of the violent conflict. Struck by the challenge these young men and women would now face post medical discharge, from the military having suffered life changing physical and emotional injuries, Emma started visiting Headley Court Military hospital every two months for 10 years to make complimentary clothing to help with self esteem and confidence, made at their Gloucster workrooms. She has built a database of over 750 injured service personnel who the charity continues to support with clothing for interviews, new jobs and important occasions, hosting the largest reunion parties held in the country, including a family day at Woburn Safari Park donated each year by The Duke of Bedford and annual Summer dinner at Hatherly Manor.
Humanitarian photographer Giles Duley talks of the impact of Style for Soldiers - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9nT51Sl1Ig&feature=youtu.be
Through regular contact with the rehabilitating servicemen and women she has met several who have turned instinctively to art and poetry to help with the psychological healing process, resulting in this travelling exhibition, 'Art in the Aftermath’ which showcases art, poetry and film created by former servicemen suffering from PTSD or brain injury predominantly incurred in Afghanistan, as well as the paintings and drawings of Harry Parker who was physically injured by a Taliban IED explosion, with the aim and result of launching therapeutic and economically viable careers.
Creative work has been scientifically proven to help re route the neurological pathways of the brain and the veterans, with financial support from the charity, have found peace and purpose over the year and the aim now is to launch economically viable careers for them doing what they love and supports them psychologically.
Significant support for the current exhibition ( which started in London’s La Galleria, followed by Sheffield as part of the Invictus Games Trials ) has been given by The Reef Group who have loaned the previous Co Op space and waived all charges, Christies London for the exhibition's art direction, Mr Porter, Marks & Spencer, Russell & Bromley, Lock and Co Hatters, Reiss and The Veterans Foundation.
The exhibition also shows powerful images of Emma’s visits to Headley Court Military Hospital, as well as photographic portraits of injured soldiers dressed immaculately in a Style for Soldiers / Mr Porter photo shoot by top fashion photographers Ben Weller and Boo George to show the importance of smart clothes for morale and self confidence when transitioning into new, unpredicted civilian life and careers.
A series of short films made about personal stories of survival in the face of adversity also feature a film made by former Royal Engineer Matt Weston who lost three limbs serving his country in Afghanistan and features Game of Thrones actor Charles Dance.
There will be talks and performances held at the gallery by inspirational veterans about their different successful ways of coping with depression, anxiety, low self esteem or suicidal tendencies and the powers of the arts and journaling in recovery and learning to enjoy life again
It is a positive exhibition talking openly about PTSD and coping with psychological and physical life changing injury, whilst celebrating our exceptional young servicemen and women.