MA Investigating Fashion student Sonia Carr is exhibiting work from her dissertation at The Royal Artillery Museum in London. The exhibition called ‘We Were There’ was originally scheduled to be held for one day only, but the Museum was so impressed with the work, they decided to extend the length of the exhibition.
Sonia originally sent a questionnaire to a small number of soldiers asking them about their thoughts on military wear and their comments and memories of life in the military. She received an overwhelming response from soldiers of all ages and ranks who wanted to contribute to the work. Sonia has created one piece in particular using the images sent to her by the soldiers. It is a large quilted canvas montage of images where the thread symbolically joins together the memories and experiences of the soldiers. Sonia has described this as her homage to Guernica by Picasso, his world-famous protest against the Spanish Civil War which was painted in 1937 and shows the tragedies and sufferings of war.
Speaking about her work and the exhibition, Sonia said: “Fashion, as a phenomenon, is exciting and at certain times can be considered a means of presenting a statement that is not all that it seems – almost as though here is a hidden agenda, in a form of subliminal messaging. It is recognised that, in terms of fashion, the military uniform is seen as a fashion statement and has been used by designers over the decades from Elsa Schiaparelli and John Galliano, to Alexander McQueen and Gareth Pugh, who have used the military uniform as inspiration for their collections.
“Furthermore, it can be seen that the fashion industry has created an enormous impact on combat and military attire and presented a major shift from garments being used as basic protective uniforms that saved lives to presenting garments that have graced many major catwalk shows and subsequently inspired a new generation of followers of fashion.”
The exhibition will open with a private view on Saturday 8 September and will be open to the public for one month from the 10 September.