Two monumental art projects created by a group of Canadian veterans of Afghanistan fuelled by pain have been installed this month at Canada House in London, attracting viewers that included Prince Andrew.
One, a Veterans Tribute Pole, was created with wood sourced from caskets, its surface covered with satellite images of Kandahar and carved with the first names and rankings of Canadian soldiers who died in Afghanistan. Veterans worked with First Nations master carver Xwalacktun to create the 14-foot sculpture.
The other, Lest We Forget CANADA!, is a mural composed of 162 square panels.
The works come out of Vancouver-based artist Foster Eastman's passion project; the Man/Art/Action initiative helps veterans channel their experiences into art.
For the theatre, veterans co-developed a play, Contact! Unload, which examines the challenges soldiers face after returning from active duty. It is also being staged at Canada House.
"Over 500 young veterans have participated in these programs and are all still alive today," Eastman told The Globe and Mail. "These art projects and programs save lives."