Rod Craig on an exhibition of conflict art complimenting the palace show

While Jenny Holzer’s Blenheim show pulls in lovers of contemporary art, Woodstock’s Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum is hosting an exhibition called Art in Conflict, inspired by the theme of Holzer’s show.

It features the work of 11 artists, demonstrating their responses to personal and global conflicts.

One of the artists is Sara Shamma who, at the end of 2012, was forced to flee her birthplace of Damascus in Syria because of the conflict.

She left behind her home and studio and lived and worked in Lebanon, for three years.

Recently she moved to London, where she now lives and works.

The English figurative artist, Graham Dean also features, exhibiting powerful watercolours that transmit an essential part of the emotions and psychological states of his subjects.

Drawn to oddball characters and extreme situations, he is essentially a painter of identity.

There is also work by David Freud, son of Lucian. It wasn’t until his father died that he felt confident enough to exhibit his paintings, explaining: “I used to find painting painful – the process of concentration. I wasn’t happy with painting while Lucian was alive; I didn’t want to share ground with him, but now I don’t feel like that.”

Other artists will be exhibiting work depicting their personal thoughts and experiences or reflecting conflicts of nature and historical events.

There will be abstract pieces by David Smith and Milena Michalski, new work on show from myself, a series of paintings by Peter Ross, and sculptures by Martin Miller and Pete Sherrard.

There are two installation pieces by Davina Chapman, and photographer Carlo Chinca is exhibiting images of post 9/11 New York. After the terror attacks on the twin towers, Carlo took one of the first available flights from the UK to cover the aftermath of the tragedy.

The work was subsequently shown at New York’s ICP and MOMA.

Also included in the exhibition are works of art by students at The Marlborough School in Woodstock, which linked in perfectly with a study focus for GCSE and A Level students.

They were asked to produce art pieces exploring personal conflict, and to find their pieces of work in an exhibition at The Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum has boosted their confidence no end.

In a sense, all art represents conflict.

Creativity emerges from opposing thoughts and ideas, conflicts between light and dark, right and wrong, abstraction and sensibility – things that words can’t express yet cannot remain silent.

I’m very excited about this exhibition – I believe it will be thought provoking and moving on many levels.

* Art in Conflict is at The Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, Woodstock until October 26.

* Rod Craig is an artist living and working in Woodstock. See