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Clarity in the fog of war: the drawings of Laura Footes

She bases her drawing partly on her experiences at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, “the largest military hospital in Europe”

British artist Laura Footes is studying painting at the Prince’s Drawing School having recently completed a year studying drawing, also at the Prince’s School. Footes’s most striking images are huge drawings of which one stands out: Syrian War Casualties, a chiaroscuro scene in a Syrian operating theatre. “The project was to challenge ourselves to find an artistic way of responding to the terrible events taking place in Syria,” Footes says. She has taken a personal approach, basing her drawing partly on her experiences at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, which, she emphasises, “also happens to be the largest military hospital in Europe”. Facing surgery herself, she met soldiers brought in from Iraq with “terrible injuries to the abdomen through car bomb attacks”. Their descriptions of makeshift war hospitals inspired her to focus on innocent civilians, creating an imaginary narrative scene in a hospital, also informed by news reports on the Syrian conflict. The scene depicts a rolling tragedy, in which a child is brought to the table, operated on, yet dies.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Clarity in the fog of war'