Art for Heroes: A Culture Show Special The Culture Show

Art for Heroes: A Culture Show Special

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Tonight we are looking at the unlikely story of some


extraordinary men. Men who answered the country's call for service, but


decades after they fought in our name, are still fighting their own


personal battles. I hated the army so much when I got out. So there


you were cast adrift. With nothing. -- suddenly you laugh. The military


was my family. But it caused me quite a lot of damage. It is not


just physical scars they bear but the physical wounds of war, combat-


related post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, a condition which


has existed as long as men have been asked to fight. Sleepless


nights, inability to relax, continuous fear about the


approaching night. I suffer with intrusive thoughts from my time in


the Falklands. It does not go away. Invisible wounds they are trying to


heal using art. For me, it is not a canvas, but a life. It is the most


powerful of the therapies I have tried. Are you saying that without


that therapy you might not be here? Positive MACRO. Definitely. But can


the power of art really help rebuild the lives of those who have


been damaged years after swearing an oath to Queen and country?


swore by Almighty God that I would be faithful and bear true


allegiance. The to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her


heirs and successors... And that I will honestly and faithfully...


Defender Majesty, her heirs and successors... In person, Crown and


dignity against all enemies... well-observed and obey orders of


Her Majesty, her heirs and successors... And of the generals


Just as it seems inevitable that countries will always go to war, so


it seems inescapable that there will always be haunting human


consequences. During the First World War the condition we now know


as post-traumatic stress disorder was labelled a lack of moral fibre.


Or more simply, shell-shock. Often viewed as a kind of emotional


weakness, or even cowardice, it is a disorder where the memories of


traumatic events are frozen in the brain and can be triggered by the


slightest thing, meaning people with PTSD still feel the same


intense Vere, even years after the It seems one enduring constant


among the ever changing face of war is the damaging psychological


legacy amongst those asked to fight. The condition finally gained


official recognition after Vietnam. 1.5 million US troops fought active


combat during the conflict and many returned traumatised. The effects


experienced high suicide rates and criminal convictions, many


developed drug and alcohol problems, they began demanding answers. The


condition that had been so easily dismissed for generations was


finally given a medical diagnosis, post-traumatic stress disorder. The


turning point for recognising PTSD in the UK was the Falklands war. A


conflict where it is believed more troops have since taken their own


lives. After the Falklands it only became gradually acknowledged


within military psychiatric circles that this was a real issue.


modern face of Battle related trauma, men who have served in


Belfast, Bosnia and beyond, each What might seem like an every day


trip to the Tate Modern in London is actually a challenging mission,


How do you feel being in a public space? It is not too crowded. I


know one of the lads is keeping an eye on me. D'you like it? I do. I


feel like I want to walk up the steps. Some of it is so weird.


These men must be mental! Is this your favourite piece? In looks very


beautiful. It is an aspiration to me, it is like you want to go


somewhere but it is not possible to get there. I only come here with


Combat Stress because I feel safe with them. I would not come here on


my own but I would like to be here a my own to have that confidence.


Could you give that a go next time? I don't know. For the present time


I count my blessings. They were brought to the Tate Modern for


therapeutic reasons by a Combat Stress, a charity at the forefront


of fighting the mental health effects of conflict. The mind tries


to represent the material for filing so you get nightmares,


flashbacks and intrusive memories. You become up tight, you get


anxiety symptoms with panic attacks, irritability, anger outbursts,


difficulty sleeping, poor concentration. In the military


people perceive themselves as being invincible and fairly macho, for


the vast majority it takes a long time before they ask for help. In


fact, the average is around 13 It took Frank and Bones way it more


than 13 years before they got help. -- Wayne Moores. I have joined them


for my first go at fishing. -- way more. You will need one of these.


Flick it forward and let go with your finger. Where has it gone?


the air. I think I caught a plant! You are not going away empty-


handed! Frank joined the Paras when he was 18 and served for eight


years in Northern Ireland, as it turned from a peacekeeping mission


into one of the bloodiest periods in UK history. The day he left he


threw all his medals into the dustbin. In some ways it was closer


than a family, then all of a sudden, there you are, cast adrift, where


do I go? What do we do? When do you think you're PTSD kicked in?


goes back to 1971. In Northern Ireland. That is a little bite, we


have something interested in debate. How many years was that after you


left the army that you were diagnosed with PTSD? Nearly 30


years after leaving the forces. years of going around undiagnosed.


Correct. How would your life have been different if there was


diagnosed 30 years ago? I probably would not have got into the trouble


I got into. I would probably be married to my first wife. The


alcoholism, drug abuse is part and parcel of PTSD. So where would my


life be? I do not know. When you get flashbacks, are they like


daydreams, or like being back there? Depending on what has caused


it, it can be back in the event. For example, the other week I


stopped at a little cafe and I was sat there and suddenly the sash


window across the other side came up six inches and the net curtain


blew out and I dived for the floor, under the table. People were going


what the hell...? To explain to them that that was -- I explained


to them it was a sniper. That was I can see the attraction of fishing


Bones's PTSD stems from his time on HMS Sheffield during the Falklands,


he went undiagnosed for 17 years. 20 crewmen died during the attack.


The heat generated by fires in the ship was so intense that


eyewitnesses said the whole blistered and felt like snow. --


hull. After the initial impact they asked for a volunteer, I


volunteered, that is why I am like I am. Inside it is a mess some days.


Complete and utter carnage. There was a photograph in the papers at


the time of you coming off the boat saying you're war was over. Yes,


but as you can see, my war is not over. It's like that for other guys


as well. Alex Coker also left the Army but combat-related PTSD and


now gets treatment at Combat Stress. He joined at 18 and was a Corporal


in the Royal Engineers. He survived constant missile attacks in the


first Gulf war, and was would be UN in Rwanda. What other jobs have you


done since you left the forces? worked as a sheet metal places.


Since he left, he has struggled with feelings of aggression and


anxiety, for which he is now one medication to keep in check. I am


alert all the time. If somebody claps a jump out of my skin,


sweating and night, my head is racing all the time. What goes


through your mind? I don't know really. It is like a constant noise


in my head. I did nothing there was anything wrong with me, I thought I


was like anybody else. I hated the army so much when I got out I did


not know what to think. That is a lot of what goes on in my head, I


am confused. Sometimes I hate it so much a have to sit down and go to


sleep, it is too much noise going on. Alex was also a witness to the


circus of horrors that was the peacekeeping mission in the Balkans.


It was there, while still in the army, that his condition began to


surface. We would do what ever we But then I could not see the point


of it. We were there for a long time. We did loads of jobs, one


bloke got his head blown off, the engineers were out there shovelling


up bodies. I was in turmoil, remember going to sit outside in


the middle of a mortar attack, thinking they were going to blow my


head off. I was just fed up. If you knew what it would be like after,


would you have still joined the army? I suppose so. Why do you say


that? We all do our bit. I would have liked to have stayed in but I


just could not stand it any longer, the utter chaos. All the military


hospitals in the UK have been closed. Now veterans to come


forward for help are treated within the NHS, or by charities. Outside


the NHS, Combat Stress is the biggest provider of support. This


is their Surrey headquarters where veterans come and stay for two week


stints of treatment. It feels very militaristic, the flags are up, it


is spick and span, a lot of order. But there is something going on in


here which you would not really expect people who have served in


This is art therapy. Used here alongside the more mainstream


psychiatric and psychological treatments and medication.


They employ the country's only art therapist dedicated to working with


veterans. They have got loads of symptoms,


they might have been trying to ignore for years. When they come


here, they are looking for answers. They are looking for for things


that are going to help and they're willing to try. It is not like a


lesson, you don't need to be good at art.


This is a recognised branch of psychotherapy which uses the art to


bring out a flow of images which afterwards, can then be decoded and


doing so, helping the brain to reprocess the traumatic memories..


I pick up the art materials and it is as though the drawing starts


making itself. It is not really me controlling the process. If I'm


trying to draw properly gets in the way. It is surprising what it it


actually brings out. It is amazing what's actually in there that you


don't bloody realise. It is disorder information storing


and retrieval that the memories aren't stored as normal memories so


being able to express them, a little bit at a time symbolically


and to give them sense and meaning through art therapy can help them


to process it. To put it into words. Although some of the art created in


therapy can seem primitive and deliberately so, whilst they are


here, there is time and space for veterans to enjoy making more


poppished pieces which are on display everywhere.


-- polished pieces which are on display everywhere.


It is good stuff, frank. Well, thanks. That's only the


second painting I've ever done. You get some of the visitors coming


round and saying, "I like that. I like the effect." Yeah, you get the


shug -- shrug of the shoulders that somebody appreciates. It is It is


nice to hear work work about your work.


It wakes up a new sense in you if you like.


I went to Combat Stress for five years, I can't draw. I couldn't


paint. I thought, "That's sissy stuff." One day I decided I'll give


it a go. I get a lot out of it. It is camming. I can -- calming. I can


put things on paper that I couldn't actually say. I couldn't explain it,


but I can put it on to paper so it It is called The Demise of Cornwall.


When I came out of the Forces, it was about what I saw in Cornwall,


the mining and the fishing it pretty much dried up and the


poppies which I put in, it is a little bit of a dig for me because


most of the help that goes into the veterans is charity.


It feels like there is a real camaraderie? There is a real


camaraderie and lots of people who have got the same sort of thing


wrong with them and they just get together and help each other and


Did this start off from one of the therapy sessions? Yeah, normally it


is weird actually, but when you turn up here, you have got no


expectations of what is going to go on, but something might happen


during the day and it triggers off an episode in the night. Most of my


stuff comes from what happens when I sleep. Another piece I have done


is a from a dream which I had on Saturday which is a hanging tree.


High hung myself in my -- I had hung myself in my dream and I


couldn't get that out of my head until I put that image down as a


model. It is like taking some of the


poison out of the emotions that drive you? Yeah, I finished the


dream off. I drew a line under it and that was it, gone.


Steve Woods joined the army in 1979, but left after developing PTSD. His


went undiagnosed for 17 years. Why did you join the Army in the


first place? Truthfully, to get away from home.


I don't want to go into too much detail, but I had a very abusive


childhood. How old were you when you joined? 16. 16.


When I joined, "Are you sure you want to join the Light Infantry."


The military was my family. When actual in fact, it caused me a lot


of damage, you know. I'm getting help and the art is pushing me in


the right direction. I'm really thankful for that.


How would the art and the therapy lift you from that? It was the


flashbacks and the thoughts that put me into that state. When I'm


painting, I get lost in it and thoughts don't come in.


In terms of the things which have helped you, you have been diagnosed


and going on medication... Yeah. How significant is the art therapy?


I think without it, there has been points in the last three years


where I just wanted to go - well, do away with myself. I think


without the art and the support of my wife and people like Jan, I


wouldn't be here. It has been fundamental. It really has.


Are you really saying without the art therapy, you might not be here?


It might not be mainstream, but art therapy has a rich tradition rooted


in familiar territory. I've come to the Impeer War mew -- Imperial War


Museum to see the work of a painter whose work makes him fundamental to


the story of art therapy. This is some of the art of the


artist Adrian Hill, a man with a remarkable story who is seen as the


godfather of art therapy, aged just 22 in 1917, he was sent by the


Imperial War Museum out to capture what life was like in the First


World War and these are some of the extraordinary, powerful, evocative


pieces that he brought back from the Western Front. What really


makes Adrian Hill relevant for us is that in 1938, he contracted


tuberculosis and was sen to the san -- sent to the sanatorium and he


screchd and -- sketched and drew and in 1939 some soldiers who were


the first casualties where brought there and he extended his use of


art to them to lift their spirits. He had a revelation that he could


help those soldiers who had trauma related to war. What is really


fascinate something that art therapy, since its birth, has been


entwined with conflict and all of these years later we have different


soldiers, different conflicts, but the pioneering approach of Adrian


Hill is given respite to those suffering from their service.


More evidence of the potential therapeutic power of art comes from


the fringes of the Artic Circle. We've come to Northern Finland to a


small place right up against the Swedish border to meet a guy who


has been on an amazing journey. His life has been transformed by art


since he left the SAS. Steve Pratt joined the Army as a


boy soldier at the age of 14, he stayed for 17 years and fought in


conflict zones all over the world. Hi, Steve.


Thanks for coming. He was decorated for his service in


the SAS, but left in 1981 when he began to develop the symptoms of


PTSD. He moved to Finland seeking


solitude and distance from his past. Steve has reinvented himself as an


acclaimed practising artist who has comibt -- exhibited across Europe.


This is the main room then? Yeah, we start over here really. This is


his latest exhibition. His work seems to draw heavily from


his military background. This really shows the size of the


problem in my head. If you look at the size of this painting and the


figures in this painting, what's going on in this painting was in my


head and it really frightens me. It is the actual canvas that you


use, goes through a violent process? Yeah. So that is being


chainsawed? That's because I have been to pieces and I was really mad.


If you are full of rage and hate, you can express those things, but


when you express them on a canvas, they become an expression in


painting so you are actually, they change and then you can see them


for what they are and then you can be, you know, separated from that.


I started working in Northern Ireland, you know, in an


intelligence gathering role. It was a very different kind of war war to


what they have now, it wasn't lots of bombs flying around. It was a


lot of anxiety, a lot of fear, a lot of uncertainty. One of my


colleagues was abducted, tortured, killed, body never found and I was,


you know, going out then to talk to people who might know about this


and that was a bit of a problem well, quite a big problem for me.


That's where I started to feel the weight of the job I was doing, you


know. Then it was just like something snapped inside me and I


thought, "I can't do this anymore." When I left my military service, I


was told at my final medical that, "I will give you a year before you


kill yourself.". How irresponsible can you get?


To say that to somebody in distress? That sentence rang in my


ears for the next 19 years. After leaving the Army, Steve suffered


from severe depression. He was prescribed medication, but it was


after starting a fine art degree, he found the feelings start to


dissipate. Art enabled me to move on and to


continue continue move on. It has been the only way I could achieve


closure. I wouldn't have been able to achieve it by thinking about it


because by thinking about it, you just spin around the problem. Art


enables unconscious activity to come out on to a canvas and then to


look back and say, "That's how it was." Not, "That is is how it is


now. "I feel I am in a better place now


and in a place where I can possibly help others.


Convinced that creativity helped him deal with past traumas, Steve


made a decision. He is coming back to the country he once served, but


fled from. I have enrolled at Goldsmith's


doing the MA art scibg owe therapy so you can -- psychotherapy so you


can work with people using psychotherapy. I see that as a


purpose in my life. I have got to use this to enable other people to


see the journey and help them move Art therapy has been around for


decades and therapists report impressive anecdotal evidence.


Something seems to be going on, but there is little little scientific


research into what is going on in the brain. I have come to Chicago


to meet one of the few guys in the world who can shed light on what


the potential potential neurological impact might be.


As Director of Clinical neuroscience at one of America's


largest ved large veterans hospitals, Dr Lukasz Konopka worked


with Vietnam vets suffering with PTSD. He is one of the few nure


roll gists who have -- nure roll gists to have done research into


art therapy and its impact on the Kenny Show or happens when somebody


suffers trauma? This structure is important, it is involved in memory


consultation. If there is chronic stress the volume of this


hippocampus increases, this is what you would expect to see in somebody


suffering from PTSD. With the decrease in hippocampus, one's


function is decreased because it is involved in memories. What role


does art therapy have been somebody -- in treating somebody with PTSD?


It is essential because it taps into the very primitive networks of


the brain. Brain function changed through art therapy could be long-


lasting, so by being able to alter brain function we can establish new


pathways, and buy it doing that you allow the patient to begin to live


a different life. Are you saying prolonged use of art therapy can


actually result in the brain being rewired? I am absolutely convinced


It was remarkable to hear what Lukasz Konopka had to say, art


therapy is not just about painting, for him, it is an integral part of


the healing process for people who really need all the help they can


get. Whatever is happening on a new a logical level, the art does seem


to unleash brawl and private memories. Memories which the


veterans are willing to share with each other, and for the first ever


time for a therapy session, with the camera. The first part today, I


was going to suggest the theme of the invisible wound. Then, after


one hour, we will gather together and come back into this space to


Invisible wounds. The analogy is wandering down the road in the dark


at night, a red light hit me, hit the wall, I see a shadow on the


wall. I see the shadow of what I was when I was a soldier, and we


have a swift connection, that is those two red lines. It is me


saying what is the matter, you don't feel well? The other one says


I wish I could have the confidence and the ability you had then. I am


a shadow of myself, I hide in the shadows of my home. I wish I did


not have these invisible wounds, I could be like him. I used to look


after these guys, and now they look Does that strike a chord with


others? Yes. Thank you. Through the imagery they give me a sense of


what it might be like but I do not think anybody could understand


unless they had been there, that is why they so respect being together


because they know the other person understands. It was very much when


one and it said about -- Jan said about a won't, I felt a tightening


in my chest and I felt straps being pulled tightly, sort of a pain, and


you do not know what you want to tear the straps of, or hold on to


it. Whether to hold on to it and keeping deep inside, because it is


yours, you do not want anybody else to know. You want to rip it off but


it is protected. You're not getting out. I had two it failed marriages,


endless failed relationships and it was getting worse and worse. In the


end, I was at a stage where I tried to commit suicide. All those people


that see are so big ex soldiers and think look at that fat man! Wasting


away on a pension. He is not wasting away, he is fighting like


It is not a mainstream form of therapy, certainly at the moment,


and I guess some would be sceptical, but you do not look like the sort


of bunch of people that are easily taken for a ride. You were


definitively say there is something in this? At silly. You guess. It do


you feel it almost connects to a part of the brain that other


therapies do not touch? Absolutely. You're all nodding. This is a


primary one, it gets things... is the one that opens the doors.


You yes, very quickly. It pulls things out so fast and deep that


I'd think it is the most powerful therapy I have tried. Having seen a


session I am blown away by how powerful it can be as an instrument


to unlock some pretty deep, hidden emotions. I was struck by how much


people's lives are still so impacted by conflicts which have


happened in some cases decades ago, and they are still carrying of --


carrying that suffering around. It Combat stress has seen its caseload


got 70 per cent in the past five years, and now helps 4500 veterans


a year, but there is a big waiting list. One thing which has come to


light whilst filming is the defence review which will see troops over


the next decade demobilised, many of whom will have seen a frontline


action in Iraq, Afghanistan, and will have been exposed to trauma.


With combats stress already creaking under the strain of


waiting lists, I just wonder whether we will be able to provide


the level of help and support that many of these people need. Some


people close to the Armed Forces are naturally concerned about this.


As a result of the Post 9/11 walls, there is a huge consequence, people


have had limbs blown off, blinded, people with brain injuries, but by


far the biggest problem we will have is the tidal wave of those


with mental scars, unseen scars, which will increasingly manifest


themselves. We have to be sympathetic and help those people


deal with them because we owe them that. In terms of who is out in


Afghanistan now, we have a nursing team of three out there looking


after a population of up to 10,000 people. Is that enough? Yes, it is.


Not everybody who sees a traumatic event is going to get ill. So the


main burden of mental health problems arising from Operations is


going to be after the operation. With the cuts coming, thousands


will leave the forces, will that make it harder to try to look after


their psychological well-being? is likely to be limited to those


who have been in combat. And we know how to follow people up. And


routine medicals members of the Armed Forces undergo now contain


Ayres -- contains assessment of mental health, that is important at


discharge where we are trying to pick people up. There is such a


human consequence when troops are committed, there is such a


responsibility for them, their families and the repercussions be


on that. I have long campaigned on mental health issues and we must


recognise that while we treat the visible injuries off a wall, --


injuries from war, I think the invisible wounds are less well


treated. It would be great to find money for servicemen and women but


defence is not a vote-winner and because we live in a democracy


politicians focus on the things that will win them popular support.


Looking after servicemen and women is not one of them. The direct


funding would be helpful. More direct funding. It would be nice to


have an automatic service for veterans that does not rely on


Unlike Britain, the US has hospitals across the country


dedicated to treating veterans. This is the main one in the centre


of Chicago. These veterans are using art therapy in much the same


way our men do back home. Years and years I did not know what was wrong.


I thought I was just crazy. uncontrollable rage, nightmares, I


did not know what it was. RC Hardy has been using art therapy for four


Muntz, he is an ex-Marine and Vietnam veteran with PTSD. There


are nights I do not sleep at all. Sometimes I get frightened, I Wyke


-- I wake up frightened for no reason. His art work expresses


emotions and experiences which seemed timeless and universal too


many a veteran of conflict. This indicates what goes on with a young


person who goes to war, or combat, and you see people with skin blown


away, their face off, you know. Cut one time I dug up dead bodies in


Vietnam. -- at one time. This bothers him, he dreams of it, it is


in his mind forever. Inside the mask you can see... Drugs,


cigarettes... Drugs, dope, everything that is in there,


everything they used to hide behind if they're not taking medication.


How much of a fight with you put up if I said I was going to take away


your brushes and you cannot paint? I can't paint no more? I would put


up a big fight. You were telling me I can't express myself. I express


myself through my art. You telling me I can't express myself? It is


like taking away my freedom of speech. What if you can't talk any


more? I would try to fight to! -- you. It was the terrible human


fall-out from America's time in Vietnam which led to PTSD being


diagnosed. It also fuelled a new symbiosis between art and the


experience of war, creating something quite special. In


downtown Chicago there is a building I have heard about for


ages at which I just have to go and This is the National Veterans Art


Museum in Chicago, originally founded by some Vietnam veterans.


What makes this place unique is that every piece here has been


created by somebody who has witnessed war. Although established


my Vietnam veterans, the museum now includes works reflecting a more


recent American conflict. This piece is called Sand Angel, it was


made by an American serviceman who was out Iraq in the first Gulf war.


He came across an injured Iraqi serviceman who was dying and his


arms were flailing out. What makes this piece so haunting is that it


is not a piece of make believe, you know that the artist was a soldier


who had this image a running through his head for years, from


something he had actually seen, which he felt compelled to get out.


This is the result. One of the founders of the museum is the a


numb veteran Joe Fornelli, he was a crew chief on a Huey helicopter,


one of the most dangerous jobs in the war. In the field he felt


compelled to capture the chaos around him using whatever he could


lay his hands on. He created this delicate image using split bamboo


and dried coffee. Maybe subconsciously I was making notes


because I did want people to know what I witnessed. I did it with my


hard work. What role do you think art can have been helping somebody


who has been in conflict to heal It opens up things that are closed


and should not be closed off inside these individuals. There are the


people like them. That helps. -- other people. Another artist on


display is Bill Crist. A fellow Vietnam veteran. I love this museum.


I know I am not alone. I used to think I was the lone ranger out


there. I couldn't talk about anything, you know. Bill was con


conscripted into the infantry and developed severe PTST after the


conflict. You come home and everything is


going to be fine, it is not that way.


It is not that way at all. His works were created using art


therapy during time spent in a psychiatric ward. They depict the


memories which still haunt him. was unconscious, that's how


powerful that explosion was. I told the people in charge, I will draw


these because a picture is worth 1,000 words and I won't have to


talk about it anymore. Wrong. The more I drew, the more I talked.


Avr got out the the -- after I I out of the infantry, I became a


medic. The tail rot ar was going full speed and it went into his


head and ripped the top of his head off. His brains were all over the


ground. I am ashamed to say I was crying and throwing up at the same


time. That was an extremely traumatic experience for me. Very


traumatic. The art is where the power is and


the art is what created the museum. Is it worth more than life? I think


what we all want, the survivors want, we all want to make sure that


the ones that didn't make it... Are always remembered.


One of the most striking exhibits here, perhaps the centrepiece of


the whole museum, is this. It is a monument to every American soldier


who died in Vietnam and it is a replica of of every single soldier


who died starting in that corner in 1957 and working its way in


chronological order to that way corner to 1975.


On each dog tag, the name of a service person who died in Vietnam,


over 58,000. An incredible amount of effort has gone into making this.


It has taken two years to individually punch each dog tag.


What is truly extraordinary is what each one represents.


I just thought of something - that memorial was never really a part of


this exhibit or design in the beginning, but they are the ones


that didn't make it. I just thought of it now.


It is incredibly powerful. Yeah. Yeah. We all know somebody on that.


Looking around at this stuff, on the one hand, I am in awe of it and


on the other han other hand I am jealous, thinking we should have


something like this in the UK. You know, what, it is natural. If


somebody planted the seed and nurtured in. It is natural that


this should happen to me. It does seem natural and such a


positive and public way to channel experiences which most of us would


find unimaginable. Surely our guys back home deserve a similar


platform. A public exhibition might be a good start. But would our


veterans be up for an exhibition? Something which could bring their


stories to a wider public and encourage other ex-soldiers not to


suffer in silence and what form should it take? We have we have got


this idea that it would be great to push this on to a wider stage and


have an exhibition or something to bring it to the wider public.


It is important to get that message across to the decision makers that


send us to war. I am at the stage now where I would


like to push it forward. To let other people see what I'm doing.


It would be interesting to compare some of the work we've done.


A mixture of the art and art therapy and create a balance so


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 64 seconds


Steve Pratt has been measuring up the gallery. He has met with bomber


macro at Combat Stress to select some work to display. -- Jan.


Speech bubbles. What is going on? Our guys have been hard at it.


glad I achieved it but I do not think I will do this again in a


hurry. It takes you to a dark place where you do not want to go. I have


not done anything at home for a long time. It was nice to get back


into something. It was a painful exercise to work this are but very


valuable. I feel it is really helping me. Sometimes I cry when I


am doing it, having a good paint. Some weird stuff comes out but it


is all good. It is all hell for. Hopefully we can get more people


who can understand because they will be a lot of lads coming back


he will need help. Hell of a lot of them. Steve Pratt is also creating


a challenging new work which incorporates past memories. He is


using some interesting techniques. A star from the point of view of a


traumatic destruction -- I start. Then some kind of rebuilding. That


destruction is also we creation and . We decided to call the exhibition


Invisible Wounds. The work on display features art made join


therapy sessions, specially created pieces by our guys.


Artwork that we brought back from America. And a series by Steve


This is a hell of a piece of work. It looks really good with the light


What does the piece symbolise? That's how a lot of us feel a lot


of the time. The distance, I wanted to bring in from us into reality


and and how we feel smaller than everyone else and insignificant. I


was a bit apprehensive about how it was going to turn out. It does look


good. Is that a smile from you? little bit, yeah.


I feel something has been achieved tonight. So if people look at this,


what do you want them to take away from it? If you are willing to


allow others to help you then even though it seems that there is no


future for you at the time, life can transform.


This is by a chap called Bones. is superb. The rest of the guys


have worked superb. You can be sur surrounded by millions of people,


but you can still be alone. That's what this painting is about.


It is every bit as valid an injury as a visible wound


It is a fine piece of work this. Thank you.


Are you proud of it? I feel I'm giving part of me away, if you know


what I mean. I'm giving part of my secret. This is what the people


don't see. This is a representation of the brain. I'm pleased to have


done it and I'm pleased it is here. There are exhibitions that contend


with so much meaning. It caught the imagination of everybody who has


been here. There has been artists here and people from the MoD here.


It as been awe inspiring. It has been a shock, but a really positive


coming together of people and works. This is a piece which has come out


of an art therapy session. That's right.


You have taken the content and turned it into a fine piece of work.


It has taken a long time to do this one. The more I looked at the


drawings and the more I looked at it as the painting was was


developing, it started to bring me down a bit. I finished the picture


and I'm happy with it. I'm only doing it because someone else might


get some help from it and think, "I tried art therapy.". Everyone,


thank you very much for coming. It is an excellent turnout. A


fantastic turnout. Thank you once again really to the guys who have


put this exhibition together. Incredible, powerful, emotional,


bloody good pieces of work which I hope you're proud of.


What's the overarching thing that you want somebody who has not


served and comes in and sees this? Just because they see see someone


and it looks hunky-dory, this is what is going on underneath their


skin. This is horrific. It brought Combat Stress into the public eye.


Job done. You have done yourselves proud. You


have done everyone proud and you have sent a strong, positive


message. So if if we can give a I guess I found the veterans aren't


both shocking, but inspirational to know the individual journeys of


people who have all given so much for the country and hope that their


paintings means that some of the people coming back from Iraq and


Afghanistan don't go through five, ten, 15, 20 years before getting


help and go through what some of these guys have been through


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