Diary Rooms, Afghanistan – The Book
This book is the result of artist Derek Eland’s time as an official war artist in Afghanistan. He was embedded with the British Army In 2011 and set up a series of Big Brother style Diary Rooms on the front line. He then asked soldiers, both British and Afghan to write down their immediate thoughts on postcards, which he collated in the Diary Rooms.
The book contains a selection of these postcards and stories, together with photographs taken by the author whilst in Afghanistan. The stories are raw, honest and varied, from the remarkable to the mundane, the extraordinary to the everyday. The reality of everyday life for troops sits alongside emotional accounts written in the immediate aftermath of battle. The book presents a collective self portrait of individual experiences on the front line of a contemporary conflict – with soldiers often referring to ‘two wars’, one involving bullets and bombs and the other which goes on in a soldiers head when everything goes quiet.
The project has been described in the international press as ‘groundbreaking’ (The Independent) and ‘staggering’ (The Huffington Post).
Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the Veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress.
Publication is marked by an exhibition at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. Exhibition dates: 11 November 2014 – 26 February 2015. http://www.