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Due to popularity, Derek Eland: Diary Rooms has been extended until 3 May 2015.
Derek Eland is a multi-media artist whose work is primarily focused on engaging with people about what it is like to ‘be human’ in stressful and difficult situations. He is interested in the use of the written word, particularly in a digital age, to access real emotions and thoughts. Much of his work is created on location, particularly through the use of ‘Diary Rooms’, and then re-contextualised in a gallery setting.
In 2011 he worked as an official War Artist embedded with the British Army in Helmand, Afghanistan. Diary Rooms describes the results of Derek’s time there. He visited Afghanistan to create a ‘Diary Room’ experience for front line soldiers, both British and Afghan, by providing them with blank cards and offering them the opportunity to write down their immediate thoughts.
Watch Derek Eland discussing the Diary Rooms project:
The stories and comments written on the cards 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. Diary Rooms 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.