As the first world war centenary (Sunday 11th November) approaches, the House of Fine Art (HOFA) marks the occasion with an incredibly fitting tribute. Their forthcoming exhibition, encompassing the works of Afghan veteran Bran Symondson is wonderfully poignant, featuring artistic revelations such as his ‘Spoils of War’ piece.

A soldier’s story told through a unique art collection

Symondson’s work became very prominent when he won the 2011 Amnesty International Media Award. In 2012 he launched his ‘AKA Peace’ exhibition for which he asked a collection of successful artists such as Damien Hirst to reinterpret AK-47 rifles, with spectacular results.

Artists have tried for years to effectively symbolise the conflicts of war and the devastation it causes but never have we seen a former soldier achieve this in such a candid yet sensitive way. Symondson’s use of the AK-47, a weapon whose destruction he witnessed first-hand, is particularly intriguing.

His impressive portfolio includes the ‘Virtue of the Vicious’ piece, in which 130 butterflies were used to decorate a decommissioned AK-47 in the colours of the French tricolour, following the Paris terrorist attack.

A fitting tribute for Remembrance Day

The use of butterflies throughout Symondson’s different pieces of art is to symbolise freedom; to symbolise a person’s spirit being set free when they die. This concept epitomises the emotional reflections that take place on the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Symondson’s say about his work and the 100th anniversary, “I am incredibly honoured to exhibit my work for the first world war centenary. I hope people will experience that I have taken something of fear and loathing [guns] and turned it into something of beauty and peace”. This forms the catalyst for his latest commemorative work that will honour our fallen heroes.

Symondson is also currently in the filming studio working on his special Remembrance Day tribute that will be unveiled closer to the event, to complement his existing war themed pieces.

Bran Symondson’s work will be exhibited at HOFA Gallery, 58 Maddox Street, London from Monday 5th November to Monday 12th November 2018.