Edmund Clark’s work has always explored politics on a domestic scale, through photography, found imagery and text. His most recent series have explored the War on Terror and 2014 collection, The Mountains of Majeed, is currently on display at Flowers Gallery, London. The arresting images examine the experiences of the military personnel who have been engaged in “Operation Enduring Freedom” in Afghanistan.
Many of the military personnel within “Operation Enduring Freedom” have never faced the enemy, their lives are restricted to barracks – a bizarre, constructed world somewhere in between a constructed “home”, workplace and warzone. The largest US base in Afghanistan has been Bagram Airfield, once home to 40,000 personnel, a cold environment surrounded by the dramatic mountains-cape of the Hindu Kush. Their blue tips can be seen above the cold grey walls of the compound, sterile environments made even more hostile by the knowledge that this beauty is just a few miles away.
Ironically, within the razor wire of the base, artists have imitated the landscape in brash murals which in fact make the situation all the more surreal and depressing. These pieces, painted by an Afghan artist named Majeed have been reproduced by Clark as postcards – holiday snaps from a military operation which, for many, would have simply been a long time spent from family, waiting to return. These mountains, both real and painted belong to Majeed, a reminder that these Western troops remain unwelcome in a country which is not their own.
Edmund Clark: The Mountains of Majeed, until 4 April, Flowers Gallery, 82 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DP.
1. Edmund Clark: The Mountains of Majeed, 2014, courtesy of the artist and Flowers Gallery.