This month, we attended and introduced the first in a series of events at The New Art Gallery, Walsall which will follow the progress of our current Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary artist in residence, Caglar Kimyoncu.

Over the course of his three month residency, Caglar will be conducting conversations under the project title 'Conscience: the militarisation of youth in Britain'. This is a research-based installation piece which builds on previous projects exploring militarisation, conscription and conscientious objection in Turkey and Israel.

Caglar's practice is influenced by his own upbringing; the son of a professional soldier in Turkey who has experienced, first hand, military assessment and subsequent exemption from services. His work explores how physical and mental disability and sexual orientation are viewed within the armed forces (the latter alarmingly is considered a psychosexual disorder) and the stigma attached to being judged ‘unfit’ or actively refusing military service.  

People in darkened room at a film screening about conscription

In his introductory talk (see event listings at this link), Caglar discussed how the aesthetics and creative process of his work is influenced and strengthened by his own experience of disability. This can be seen in the large installation views of his 2013 film COnscription, which are inset with close up shots of a furtive glances or wringing hands and in the use of improvisation, rather than scripted performances. Both of these elements are informed by the artist’s dyslexia, and desire to concentrate on detail but create unexpected outcomes that result in realistic and moving representations. 

Caglar is now turning his focus on Britain.

Part of his research in Walsall will be concerned with economic conscription - how the military ‘market’ and brand themselves to appeal to young men and women who have not had the same access to education and opportunities.

He has been mapping our thoughts and gathering the immediate responses to a series of words such as ‘peace movement’, ‘militarisation’,

To view the results or share your thoughts go to:

His research is ongoing, but has already sparked some interesting conversations and discussion. Caglar will be in residence at The New Art Gallery Walsall until 27 March 2016, and will be giving another studio talk on Saturday 5 March - click on this link for details .

To get in touch with Caglaand share experiences visit his website: 

View into Caglar

For more on Shape's Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary please click on this link

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Blog by Fiona Slater. For more information on our work, email or call us on 0207 424 7330

Image credits: Zeynip Dagli (Conscience)