Acrylic on paper. 100 x 150cm.
Phil Whiting is a British visual artist engaged with issues concerning imprisonment, conflict and human rights.
Phil : "Children orphaned or abandoned in war zones will often seek sanctuary in forested areas or in the basements of derelict buildings.
In 2005 in my capacity as a war artist I was invited to accompany the charity ‘Refugees in Slovenia’ to Srebrenica to help bear witness to the aftermath of the conflict and the reconstruction initiatives undertaken. With the help of the charity and Eufor I was able to gain access to several derelict hell holes where atrocities had taken place to make drawings, and to interview many survivors (and some perpetrators – all in denial) about their shocking experiences. Although harrowing, I found it both humbling and strangely uplifting, as survivor after survivor showed a tenacity and determination not to be cowered and defeated by their experiences but to fight for a just future. The work I did lead to my solo exhibition ‘Srebrenica – Paintings From the Grave’ held in the Yehudi Menuhin Space, at The European Parliament Building, Brussels in 2006.
In 2010, wishing to research further sites for my project ‘Places of Mourning in the Western World’ I travelled through Syria accompanied by my wife Emma, a child protection social worker, where we stayed in places such as Damascus, Palmyra, Homs and Aleppo where shortly afterwards some of the worst fighting would take place. We made friends with locals and delighted (as everywhere) in their children. My anger and shame at the international community’s inability to protect these people matches my earlier mood concerning Srebrenica and is palpable."