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The Human Cost

Sean Duffield from Paper Tiger Comix will be previewing comics from his forthcoming war-themed anthology at the Ctrl.Alt.Shift Unmasks Corruption exhibition. More…

Tickets: Free
Where: Lazarides, Greek Street, Soho, London
When: November 6 to November 30, 2009

Sean Duffield on War: The Human Cost:

The excerpts you are viewing are taken from the forthcoming anthology “War: The Human Cost”, to be published by Paper Tiger Comix, hopefully in 2010. The project has been going for 4 years now, in which time I’ve collated material on themes surrounding war from artists and writers from 18 countries. The majority of the content is new material, comic strips taken from lots of perspectives and experiences from all over the world. It was important for me that the book did not seem like it was taking sides, had an agenda or a rigid ideology, or was coming solely from one angle, as I felt that would not allow the project to grow, different voices to be heard or understanding to be gained.

No work is truly free from some kind of bias, or standpoint however, and if being truthful, I had my own reasons for starting the project. One being it would be a not-for-profit work to raise money for Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and Community Arts Projects (CAP) a local community group.

I wanted to create a book which wasn’t some heavy-handed political statement, but which hopefully connected stories, real experiences, facts, feelings and analysis about why we go to war with each other and how that affects the people involved. Therefore the content reflects diversity. There will be stories and content from soldiers, civilians, refugees and asylum seekers, political prisoners, victims of torture, journalists, activists and human rights campaigners. The book also allows for humour (often in a black vein), satire and for strong personal opinion to balance the more factual and documentary style approaches.

From a creative point of view, the medium of comics allows for forms of expression and communication that other mediums and art forms cannot, and the contributors involved have utilised a myriad of ways of conveying messages and telling stories to great effect.

There will be different cultural perspectives and a range of expression and emotion on the subjects, as well as a dissection of the whole ‘machine’ of war; from manufacturing and sale of arms, through political strategy, the use of fear, the creation of propaganda and the manipulation of people into supporting conflict. Whilst I would say that the underlying messages illustrate the futility and suffering caused by war, and how people’s lives are affected and changed by it, it is not a one-sided discussion. The book isn’t simply an exercise in indignation, condemnation and finger pointing, rather ultimately an exploration of why we humans do what we do to each other, how different ideologies and people justify their causes and actions, and how easy it is to dehumanise oppressor and oppressed alike.

Parts of the book also look at how, in the face of war and bloodshed, people can create victories for peace and can go beyond old feuds and hatreds and look to forgive and heal wounds. It is important to see how positivity, action and hope can create alternatives to mistrust, hatred and violence, and how peace is not just an ideal, it can be achieved.

The project is just about completed. It will be a work of around 260 pages with an accompanying CD of anti-war music from many talented and high profile musicians. Unfortunately, my biggest struggle and own personal conflict has been raising money and support for this project. Due to the breadth of content and its topical nature, most funding bodies will not support the project, or the book does not fit specific criteria to be awarded financial support. I have managed to co-ordinate a couple of funding events and acquire donations from a couple of generous individuals, but so far we have only managed to raise £1,000, and the project needs an extra £2,800 to see print. Therefore if you would like to support this project, through donation or some kind of fundraising activity, please do get in touch, and together we can make this important body of work see the light of day.

Many thanks,
Sean Duffield

Editor, War: The Human Cost Of Conflict
Email: seantiger [at] googlemail [dot] com


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