Peace Maker National Army Museum, London
This textile work is a flag for peace, justice, equality and humanity. It evolved out of the project 'Piece Makers' where Stockwell collaborated with veteran soldiers and the National Army Museum (NAM) over a two year period.
'Peace Maker', the final commissioned work, evolved from researching the NAM's collection and collaborating with veteran soldiers who were in rehabilitation after serving in Afghanistan and other conflict zones. The participants drew inspiration from the Museum's Collection and their own stories and experiences.
The veterans were from two UK recovery centres: Stoll, based in Fulham and Tedworth House in the garrison town of Tedworth, Wiltshire. Through workshops they explored issues to do with Army rehabilitation and life after service using sewing, quilting and drawing to unlock memories of soldiering and recovery.
In the piece discarded Army blankets create a patchwork quilt analogous to the fragmentary nature of the recovery process. Also the text and image used reflects the profound challenges associated with duty, solidarity, loss and pride. In the centre of the quilt, acting as a focal point, is the artist and veteran Michael Crossan's poignant screen print that captures the essence of soldiers in war. It is surrounded by dark grey and white swatches resembling a chess board, representing the game of war. Many of the swatches are hand embroidered by Stockwell with quotes from the soldiers and other relevant sources. The reverse side of the work is an evocative silk flag in Army colours simply containing the word 'Peace'. This was Susan's personal contribution. It is a flag for peace, justice, equality and humanity. This project and work attempts to represent real issues facing soldiers and veterans in and out of service today.
The work and photographs documenting the project toured to six regimental Museums in the UK (2014-16) before being accessioned into the museum's permanent collection in London. It then went on tour to Compton Verney in the exhibition 'Created in Conflict: British Soldier Art from the Crimean War to Today' (March 2018).
Measurements: 2.4 x 1.8 m
Material: Reused army blankets, cloth, embroidery thread, silk, wood & ribbon.
Provenance: London, UK