This first UK exhibition of Mark Neville’s Battle Against Stigma project aims to address issues of mental health problems in the military. Also included is the UK premiere of Displaced Ukrainians, focussing on the plight of children in a zone of dispute and conflict. The exhibition is part of FORMAT International Photography Festival Off Year Programme and also QUAD’s year-long season of ‘Wellbeing’.
Mark Neville works at the intersection of art and documentary, investigating the social function of photography Often working with closely knit communities, in a collaborative process intended to be of practical benefit to the subject, his photographic projects to date have frequently made the people he portrays the primary audience or beneficiary of the work.
The Battle Against Stigma exhibition in QUAD Gallery features photographs, films, emails from former service personnel and copies of a book, also titled Battle Against Stigma, that recounts Neville’s own personal experience when he was sent out to Helmand in 2011 as an official war artist. The exhibition is intended to give some insight into the issue of adjustment disorder and PTSD which he suffered from on his return to the UK.
Paired with the films, photographs and e-mails all relating to Neville’s Helmand experience, are photographs and video interviews the artist made in Ukraine in 2017. Displaced Ukrainians is a collaboration between Neville and the Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS), Berlin. The project focuses on children in Ukraine as one of the most vulnerable groups affected by displacement, and echoes Neville’s photographs of Afghani youth, often emerging like phantoms from the landscape, mirroring the age of the young UK troops they are engaging with in Helmand.
The Battle Against Stigma exhibition at QUAD will act as a platform to connect with veterans, artists, academics, charities and policy makers, uniting the different sectors of society necessary to address improved mental healthcare for service personnel.
QUAD and FORMAT would like to thank the Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS), Berlin for the loan of the artworks Displaced Ukrainians.