Contemporary art exhibition Changing the Landscape opens at The National Archives

12 April – 17 September, first floor reading rooms

The National Archives’ first ever contemporary art exhibition is now on display in the first floor reading rooms until mid-September.

Changing the Landscape, an ambitious visual arts project by British contemporary artist Sarah Kogan, is inspired by the unpublished collection of over 180 daily letters and photographic postcards written and illustrated by her great uncle, Barney Griew, a map maker and scout who died in the Battle of the Somme, 1916.

It is The National Archives’ first contemporary art exhibition and includes a rarely seen military panoramic photograph from the archives. This unique image, shot from inside the trench at Gommecourt in the Somme Valley, was taken by the London Rifle Brigade on 20 May 1916 as Barney took up his post in Yiddish Street trench.

Supported using public funds by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Changing the Landscape follows Barney’s first-hand account of his journey from Hackney, London, to northern France, training to become a mapmaker and scout in the five months preceding his death on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

This fascinating exhibition is a culmination of five years of research and work by Kogan, and is on display throughout summer 2016, in line with the centenary of the landmark battle.

Exhibition box: Looking for Barney. Copyright Sarah Kogan

Read more about the project. Admission to the on-site exhibition is free.