VJ Day Digital Exhibition Explores The Diversity Of The Fourteenth Army

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The National Memorial Arboretum, in Staffordshire, is hosting a free online exhibition of brand new illustrations as part of the site’s programme of activity commemorating the 75th anniversary of VJ Day.

Created by Kremena Dimitrova, the colourful artworks of ‘Visualising History: Remembering the Forgotten Army’ tell the story of the diverse communities who comprised the Fourteenth Army, serving together in one of the fiercest theatres of the Second World War, and the lasting legacy that they have had on today’s society and culture. It contains elements inspired by a recent series of digital workshops with young exploring the key themes of the exhibition.

A million people from Britain and across the Commonwealth served in the Fourteenth Army, one of the most diverse forces in history, battling adverse environments and the fearsome Japanese Imperial Army. The stories of those who served, along with  thousands who were captured and faced harrowing conditions as Prisoners of War, are often forgotten, with focus given to the conflict in Europe.

Kremena Dimitrova is an award-winning illustrator, historian and lecturer who has created several notable artworks that explore key historical moments and social change. She is currently studying for a PhD in Visualising History at the University of Portsmouth.

The exhibition is free to view here on the Arboretum’s website until 30 September.

“We continually strive to find new routes for people to engage with Remembrance and discover some of the amazing stories of people who have served our country. Kremena’s impactful and story-driven illustrations tell the incredible tale of the ‘Forgotten Fourteenth’ who bravely fought for the freedoms we all hold dear.”

Chris Ansell, Head of Participation and Learning at the National Memorial Arboretum

“In creating this work I was determined to help everyone expand their knowledge of this important historic era, going beyond what is often taught in schools and discussing how people from different backgrounds worked together to overcome adversity in the forgotten theatres of the Second World War. By bringing this amazing story to life we can all remember their service and learn from the people who, during the Second World War, helped each other regardless of race, religion or cultural differences.”

Kremena Dimitrova, Artist