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Candian soldiers in Afghanistan 2006
Acrylic on masonite, 48 x 25 inches (2008)

This is the third in the series of paintings honouring Canadian forces in Afghanistan. Our son Sean is shown with a C6 light machine gun.

With Operation Medusa, the Afghanistan mission became a hot war. Operation Medusa was an escalation from duties of checkpoints and long range patrols to out-and-out warfare. The defensive position shown is actually a rooftop, with its mud walls acting as cover. The soldiers are holding their position as American air support (an A10 moving fast out of the scene right-to-left) drops a heavy weapon on the enemy emplacement. Given the proximity of the combatants, the aircraft has to reduce speed and lower its flaps to keep it airborne while it delivers the munition accurately.

The soldiers are braced to advance. The foreground soldier is ready to fire a heavy support weapon (C6 machine gun), with his “second” to his left, and an advancing soldier moving quickly behind both of them. The soldiers providing this cover fire are stripped down to minimum survival gear: body armour and ammunition vests.

This painting is imagined mostly, and partly based on photographs taken by our son Sean’s buddies during Operation Medusa. The elements of the painting cover a wide range of the soldier’s Afghanistan experience, among other things as witnesses to the horrible destructive power of American air support. The Canadian soldiers are fully prepared to engage with lethal force, their uniforms covered in the perpetual bleaching dust of Afghanistan. They have sought protection behind the oldest of building materials: dried mud and stone.

This painting is now part of the permanent collection of the Canadian War Museum.

Please do not reproduce the images in this display.
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P.O. Box 659, Winchester, Ontario. K0C 2K0   613-774-5180
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© 2012 Douglas Laing