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Images of War was a book of drawings and verse on war in the traditional sense, casting me as a war artist in the time-honoured traditions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  It records a brief chapter, in 1980/81, in the lengthy South and South West African Border War.  It was a war which entangled many nations and forces in a conflict that would see the transition to an independent Namibia and a somewhat more stable Angola.   I was there not as a uniformed member of any force but as a war artist and poet.  Like a stranger in a strange land, I spent the best part of a year in South West Africa’s border areas and travelled in and on every kind of transport – land and air.  Images of War details the military face of that conflict: images of men and machines in operations and repose.  It documents what ranks as a ‘small war’ in international terms, but the scale of its conventional and mechanised operations may stretch that definition.   I spent time with troops on the ground and SAAF pilots, most of whom had flown operationally in Rhodesia.  The experience confirmed the cross-over between these Southern African wars and the men who fought them.  


The drawings in Images of War were more technically accomplished than my previous work and the verse is my own.  The experience of drawing and writing Shadows of War and Faces of War had matured my understanding of conflict and its socio-political context in Southern Africa.  Research of historical war art and artists also pointed to the cyclical sequence of events and processes in war that have repeated themselves endlessly and almost identically over long centuries.  Again I wrote notes to the drawings to contextualise these and help expand the understanding of those who were not there.

Images of War


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