Delightful, Surprising, Eye – Opening. Giles Exhibition’s a big hit!

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We were thrilled to have such a brilliant response to  our new Carl Giles Exhibition – Friendship in a time of War.

This exciting exhibition shared family photographs of the famous British Cartoonist Carl Giles and explored his personal friendship with African- American GI’s stationed in Suffolk during World War Two. It was the culmination of three years research into a fascinating story about a very special friendship during the war.

But don’t take our word for it. Here are a small selection of some of the fantastic feedback we have received from visitors to the show:

“What an interesting and surprising exhibition!” – B and J Kenly, Solihull

“Reveals a side of Giles not widely known, great cartoonist” – Alex Gordon, Ipswich

“Interesting history of his time spent with the GIs” – Steve and Andrea Prill, Auckland, New Zealand

“Would love to see more! Giles saw behind colour” – Bree Halsey, Ipswich

“Delightful exhibition, first class. Thoroughly enjoyed it!” – Paul Thompson, Grundisburgh

“Very forward-thinking man, a wonderful exhibition, great friendship” – Pat Ross, Nottingham

“Good to see more aspects of Giles – as a musician and a good friend to the black GIs – Inspiring” – John and Jackie Ross, Ipswich

“Great photos! Would love to see more, very moving for me, my dad spoke of this for years!” – T Brown, Ipswich

“Excellent peak into an interesting time” – Kyland Morgan, Alexandria, Louisiana, USA

“Intriguing to see the original photos and drawings, Good exhibition” – Liz Connelly, Ipswich

“Eye opening! A wonderful man in so many ways – drawing, wit, humour and obviously friendship – I grew up with Giles in the war, i.e. his wonderfully relevant cartoons” – N Templeton, Ipswich

“Great exhibition and historically and socially very illuminating … Keep ‘em coming!” – Peter Locke, Ipswich

“Lucky chance to find this exhibition. Another facet of Giles – what else is there to find out?” – P Evans, Colchester

Some of the first U.S Soldiers to arrive in the UK were members of a segregated African-American engineering battalion who were constructing the runways for the 8th USAAF right across the East of England.

Giles became close friends with many of the Black G.I.s and spent nights playing music with them in local pubs, especially The Fountain in Tuddenham, on the outskirts of Ipswich. He also welcomed them into his home. In April 1944 the renowned photographer Lee Miller visited Giles for a story featured in Vogue, capturing these scenes forever.

Many of these images had not been seen in public for over seventy years. Alongside the photos visitors also discovered a small selection of Giles cartoons, included two beautifully illustrative colour images he drew of two of his best friends, Butch ( Shepherd) and Ike.The extraordinary friendship between Giles and these Black American G.I.s would have been incredibly uncommon in the 1940’s segregated USA.

The exhibition ran from Tuesday 23 August to Friday 9 September at the Ipswich Tourist Information CentreThe centre is found in the lovely medieval building of St Stephen’s Church. We would like to thank the incredibly supportive staff at the centre for all their spoor during the exhibition. Thank you.

Our exhibition was supported by the British Cartoon Archive at the University of Kent, home to the Carl Giles archive, and  Ipswich Borough Council. The Eighth in the East is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.