Published: Wednesday, 26th January 2022

We are partnering with artist David Tovey, the homeless community and partner organisations to bring a new, unique exhibition to Medway.

The Unknown Soldier exhibition by David Tovey, who is a formerly homeless artist, educator, activist and ex-soldier and will be on display at Rochester Art Gallery, inside the Visitor Information Centre in Rochester from Friday, 28 January until Saturday, 16 April. 

The exhibition aims to raise awareness of homelessness and the struggles that people may face when they leave the armed forces including mental health problems, homelessness and for some, suicide. The exhibition was inspired by artist David’s own experience and has been designed to show the subject of homelessness and the possible reality for some ex-service personnel in a balanced way.

The exhibition is also a way to explore David’s discovery and love for art, which he says has saved him in many ways and gave him hope for a better future. The Unknown Soldier looks back at David’s life of homelessness and being an ex-soldier and marks the moment he discovered and used creativity to change his life. 

The exhibition will also signpost residents to the support available for those who are facing homelessness and where people can access mental health support.

In 2020 we were one of just 127 employers which was granted the gold award from the UK Defence Employer Recognition Scheme. The award recognises employers’ work supporting serving and ex-military personnel and advocating for other organisations to support the armed forces community. The award also reflects the council’s commitment as an employer, encouraging staff to sign up as reservists and ensuring those in the armed forces community have equal access to jobs. 

We signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2017 which focuses on ensuring services are provided to members of the armed forces community, from education and family well-being to advice on starting a new career.

We have recently used £10,000 Armed Forces Covenant funding to create an Armed Forces Veterans Hub where veterans and their families and meet others and access a range of support available as well as activities which are decided by attendees.

Internationally known artist

Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services and Armed Forces Champion, said: “I am pleased that we will be showcasing David’s thought-provoking exhibition at Rochester Art Gallery. David works with a variety of organisations including Tate Modern, Arts and Homelessness International, the Museum of Homelessness and is known internationally so this is a great opportunity for residents and visitors of Medway to see his work. Medway is also incredibly proud of its rich military history and its long-standing military connections and we are committed to doing all we can to support our armed forces community.”

Find out more about the exhibition.

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