Inside a Military Museum
Article Image

British photographer Jason Larkin has traveled to various countries, including Vietnam and Cuba photographing military museums. This venture was born out of curiosity how countries with brutal pasts have come to terms with that fact while honoring their history.

Although different countries offer varied perspectives, as does art. Larkin embraces movies like Dr Strangelove or Thunderbirds, which explain that rememberance is in a way that is enigmatic. In Larkin’s opinion, he believes that “It’s too easily sanitised,” says Larkin. “There should be much more context and nuance.” You can represent a history that brings pain to learn about in a way that is not inherently political. Art opens doors for conversation and debate, but one doesn’t need to conjecture and make a hardship out of something that doesn’t need to be trifled with negative attention and pain. He goes on to say. “I didn’t want to make too much of a commentary on propaganda,” he tells BBC Culture. “What I became interested in was what really reinforces this view on history and what makes the public think that it’s true – the ways in which this history is being presented, the aesthetic choices being made by the curators and the museum staff.” And that is precisely why you should revel in this art piece as it is not one with a secret (or not so) agenda.

Each country Larkin visited he was able to witness that poured their culture in their art and presented their pain and hardships in a unique lense. There is a complex narrative in the way each country transforms their history. However, he does go on to concede that. “It’s just a select few people at the top who get to decide on how museums are going to look,” he says. “There are a lot of people in the countries I’ve visited who would not agree with what’s in their museums – it’s just what the state or one rich influential group or the army want to say.” And that’s an important distinction. The goal is for people to embrace humanity and realize that their actions and thoughts and who they are matter in a world that seems to go dark, when violent brokenness is seen. It shows a journey and one that isn’t only full of struggle but one of hope and love.

You will be able to see Larkin’s art soon. As noted in this article, his current series can be seen at London’s Flowers Gallery now, has put much focus on how these museums put together their displays.”

Find out more information at