In December and January 2008/2009, artist Xavier Pick spent six weeks with the British, American and Iraqi troops in Basra.
As a guest of the Ministry of Defence, he was given exclusive 24 hour access to the army. During his trip he produced thousands of sketches and paintings of the things he witnessed. It was a life-changing expedition for Xavier and he documented his experiences and feelings in audio as well canvas.
Here Radio 4 listeners are given a snap shot of what Xavier felt about what he saw as he toured Iraq with the troops.
The pictures he painted while in Iraq included everything from soldiers at work, rest and play to sketches depicting the reconstruction of Basra including the building of new schools, hospitals and transport links.
He visits Saddam Hussein's former Baath Party headquarters, the Garden of Eden, air raid shelters and the battlefields of the Iran/Iraq war.
He spends Christmas and New Year with the troops and reflects on how it must feel to be away from family and friends at special times. In an intimate portrait of day to day life for our troops, he captures the spirit of life in Iraq at a crossroads for both the British army and the Iraqi people.
Producer: Daniel Manicolo
A Made in Manchester production for BBC Radio 4.
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