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Welsh hero Simon Weston immortalised on canvas for Falklands anniversary

A new art exhibition commemorating four decades since the Falklands War will bring together a collection of poignant pieces inspired by the memories and images collected by military veterans who fought in the conflict, including Simon Weston. Proceeds from the collection will be donated to the Army Benevolent Fund (ABF).

April 2022 marked 40 years since British forces from all three services were deployed to the small, but diplomatically-charged British territory off the coast of Argentina following a surprise invasion by Argentinian forces. Before an eventual ceasefire was declared on June 14 1982, a total of 255 British servicemen were killed in the liberation of the Falkland Islands. British forces still have a presence on the islands to this day.

Simon Weston

‘The Art of War’, a one day exhibition to be held on Saturday 28th May at Pangbourne College, will comprise 12 paintings by renowned British artist Jeremy Houghton, the Official Artist for the Falklands Conflict 40th Anniversary, who has worked closely with a number of veterans to translate their stories into a series of artworks. Created in a number of mediums including oil, watercolour and sketches in Jeremy’s signature style, the pieces will contrast light and space to create a sense of movement and time, capturing often bleak snapshots of the reality of war.

The collection is not the artist’s first with a military connection, having previously been commissioned to paint a portrait of the Queen as part of the 2009 Quincentenary of the Gentleman at Arms as well as residencies with regiments including the Royal Lancers at Windsor Castle. Jeremy has also undertaken the prestigious role of artist in residence to both Prince Charles at Highgrove, and later Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle.

Speaking of his inspiration behind the collection, Jeremy says: “As a child in the early Eighties, I distinctly remember seeing images of the Falklands on the news and in newspapers. It was the first time I’d ever really seen war documented in this way, away from the history books and beamed straight into our living rooms. I think that’s one of the reasons why the conflict has always fascinated me.

“It was the stories of those often nameless servicemen I saw on the television all those years ago that I wanted to tell through this exhibition, to show snapshots of the war through their eyes. Working with the veterans as part of this project has been incredibly eye opening and I feel very grateful to them for sharing their stories and their memories to help me to formulate a picture of their war.

“Forty years later, we unfortunately find ourselves in much the same situation, turning on our televisions to images of conflict. It’s this notion of watching another moment in history unfold  from afar which makes this anniversary all the more poignant and makes exhibitions like this one, which will immortalise the real life experiences of those who lived through it, all the more important.

“ABF has been incredibly helpful in putting me in contact with veterans, including the enigmatic Simon Weston who I had the privilege of sketching at his home last month and I’m delighted to be donating proceeds from the exhibition to the charity which does such amazing work to support serving soldiers, veterans and their families.”

After Pangbourne, the exhibition will be on public view at the Art Cotswolds gallery in Chipping Campden.