About the Legion
25 October 2012 - 11 November 2012
The White Picture - The Hidden World of Women in Combat
A photographic exhibition giving an intimate view of life for female soldiers serving in Afghanistan is being presented by The Royal British Legion at the Gallery@Oxo on the South Bank in London.
The images highlight how women, both British and Afghan, respond to the often austere conditions in which they find themselves and how they maintain their morale and individuality in the face of demanding circumstances.
The photographs are a result of the photojournalist Alison Baskerville's embedded position with British forces earlier this year for the Legion where she had unprecedented access to the British Army's Female Engagement Officers and women at the Afghan National Army's Training Centre in Kabul.
The British Army's Female Engagement Officers (FEOs) work to build relationships with Afghan women in some of the most dangerous parts of Helmand. As interaction between women and male soldiers is strictly forbidden in these communities, FEOs are female volunteers from across the army who receive specialist cultural and language training to help them carry out this role.
The exhibition is titled 'The White Picture' after the term used to describe the effect the Female Engagement Officers contribute to by gathering information for the wider intelligence picture, which sits outside the usual military objectives but is vital in the battle for hearts and minds.
Alison Baskerville commented, "Having previously served in Afghanistan with the military, I jumped at the opportunity when the Legion asked me to return as a photographer. I wanted to show not only the role of the female soldiers who engage with local Afghan women but also how these women work alongside their male colleagues. It gave me a unique insight into the day-to-day life of women working in a war zone and the effect it has had on them and their ability to adapt to a highly stressful and emotionally challenging environment."
When: 25 October to 11 November 2012, 11.00am
Where: Gallery@Oxo, Oxo Tower Wharf, South Bank, London SE1 9PH
Admission is free.
If you are interested in volunteering to help at this exhibition, please contact Hanna Deans (email@example.com). We expect thousands of people through the doors and we need volunteers to man the desk alongside the photographer, handle poppy collections, hand out flyers and let people know about the work of the Legion.
A video of the opening of the exhibition held on Wednesday 24 October is available below and on our YouTube channel. It includes interviews with Alison and FEOs Captains Jessica French and Anna Crossley who feature in the photographs.
Alison will be speaking about her experience in Afghanistan at the Gallery@Oxo on Wednesday 7 November, 2012. Click here for more information and to buy tickets.