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The break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s unleashed savage fighting, particularly in the ethnically-mixed region of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1993, Howson accompanied a British contingent of the United Nations Peace Keeping Force to Bosnia as the Official War Artist. Many of his resulting paintings depict scenes of appalling degradation including rape, castration and impaling. Plum Grove combines scenes witnessed by the artist with Croatian accounts of the treatment of their men by Muslim captors. Howson’s works are not intended to be partisan, however, addressing individual cruelty and suffering.

November 2006