5 Exhibitions To Reflect On The Somme 100 Years On

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 21 months ago

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5 Exhibitions To Reflect On The Somme 100 Years On
These weapons caused horrific injuries. Find out how they were treated at Science Museum

It's been 100 years since the massive loss of life at the battle of the Somme. While the nation has remembered those who fought so bravely, art has been doing its part for the remembrance too. We saw photography of the Somme as it looks now, and who will forget those soldiers who turned up in period uniform around London.

But what if you want to know more about this historical battle or want to see art inspired by those events? We've got you a covered with a diverse selection of exhibitions.

Wounded: Conflict, Casualties and Care at Science Museum

The show may open with machine guns, shells and grenades but the real focus is the horrific injuries these weapons of war caused. We see how men were disfigured by gas attacks, the need for prosthetic limbs, how gas masks evolved, surgical tools for removing gangrenous flesh, plus the padded door for a 'lunatic asylum' where victims of shell shock were kept.

It's a great contrast to how wounded soldiers are treated today, both physically and psychologically. This is an exhibition that's both harrowing and fascinating in equal measure. Free, until 15 January 20

Hughie O'Donohue: Seven Halts on the Somme at Leighton House Museum

These seven abstract paintings are the result of O'Donoghue's residency at Eton College.  The college lost many students in the Great War and in response to the letters held in the Eton archive, the artist has created glimpses of the landscapes in vivid colours.

The intensity of the paintings captures a sense of conflict without actually giving much away about the landscape, only the roof of a building or a section of a bridge being visible. £7, until 2 October.

The abstract but vivid snippets of Somme landscapes painted by Hughie O'Donoghue. Photo: Kevin Moran

Scarlett Raven: The Danger Tree in Greenwich

A deeply personal exhibition about the Somme concerning the artist's father and a tree used by German artillery for targeting. In Scarlett Raven's The Danger Tree, each painting comes to life using augmented reality, by pointing our phone at it we can see a video with the story behind each work. It's a clever technology that's under-utilised by artists. Free, until 31 July.

Remembering 1916 - Life on the Western Front at Whitgift exhibition centre

One of our favourite exhibitions of the year so far is in a school in Croydon. This high quality exhibition blew us away with how comprehensive it is containing rare artefacts, fascinating stories and great recreations of the trenches. There are still a few months left to catch it. £7, until 31 August.

First world war galleries at Imperial War Museum

You can't have a round-up of war exhibitions without mentioning the Imperial War Museum. When this museum re-opened in 2014 with the revamped World War I galleries, the queues to get in were immense. Thankfully the queues have died down but this permanent exhibition remains superb. Free.

One of the trench recreations at Whitgift Centre.

Last Updated 07 July 2016