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The First Casualty: Art at the Margins of War – George Butler

22nd November 2022

This exhibition features recent work by Butler including drawings from the war in Ukraine, from early 2022.

“The first casualty when war comes is truth”
Senator Hiram W Johnson. 1917

Over 100 years since Senator Hiram Johnson’s statement about war and truth, and despite advances in technology, interconnectivity and accountability, society is still battling with the nature of truth – particularly when it comes to war. George Butler’s work done by hand, a simple line of pen and ink, speaks to a different truth. His drawings are made from life, and with permission of those in front of him. ‘The drawings record moments in time without motive or agenda.

This exhibition offers a different truth to the ones we read online or see on our
screens. As it turns out, truth is not the only casualty. These drawings show others, Madame Olga, age 99, Volodymyr, age 7 and many other casualties of war including homes, buildings and nature and the environment.

George comments, “The reason I go to places like this to draw is because I believe that there are many missed opportunities in the storytelling. The way I’ve experienced these places when I’ve drawn them isn’t always the same as I’ve seen in the news. There are many spaces in between-around the fringes of these atrocities-that demand more depth, better stories about vulnerable areas and vulnerable people and trying to tell the truth as they’ve told it to me.”

Highlights from the exhibition include drawings of Bucha mass-grave excavation, a militia group in Yemen, the trenches in Armenia and the Kharkiv metro drawings alongside those of Irpin Bridge. A proportion of the sales of the work from the exhibition will go to raising George’s target of £20k for projects and individuals in Ukraine.

For more details, click here.


22nd November 2022


Chris Beetles Gallery
8 & 10 Ryder Street
London,SW1Y 6QB
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Chris Beetles Gallery
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