About Arabella Dorman

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British artist, Arabella Dorman, is an internationally renowned portrait painter and war artist whose work hangs in high profile institutions and collections around the world. 

Arabella works from her studio in Chelsea (London) on private and public commissions, and enjoys working closely with the Armed Forces, the Church and other high profile institutions across the UK.

Arabella’s conflict art is drawn from first-hand experience of working with British forces in Southern Iraq (2006), Afghanistan (2009 – 2014) and more recently, with refugees in Lesbos, Calais & Dunkirk (2015 - 2016). Arabella has recently returned from Syria where she bore witness to the cultural and social damage across the country. 

Arabella was listed as one of BBC’s Top 100 Women in 2014, and Salt Magazine’s 100 Most Inspiring Women in 2015. Her work has been profiled across national and international television, radio and print, including BBC, CNN, Radio 4, BBC World Service, and featured on the front cover of The Times, The Guardian and The Sunday Times Magazine.

Arabella is a prominent public speaker and fundraiser.

Arabella’s critically acclaimed installations, Flight and Suspended at St James's Piccadilly, Canterbury Cathedral and Leicester Cathedral  have raised global awareness about the plight of refugees, while her last exhibition, Before the Dawn at La Galleria Pall Mall raised over £30,000 for charities Afghanaid and Walking with the Wounded.

Arabella lives in London with her husband and 2 young children.

Selected Exhibitions

  • All Hallows Twickenham

  • St James’s Piccadilly, London

  • The Nile Art Gallery, Cairo, Egypt

  • Kings College London

  • Sayle Gallery, Isle of Man

  • Guards Chapel, London

  • La Galleria, Pall Mall, London

  • Westminster Abbey, London

  • Frost & Reed Gallery, St James, London

  • Arndean Gallery, Cork Street, London

  • Imperial War Museum, London

  • Bonhams, London

  • The John Creasey Museum, Salisbury

  • Excel, London, KBR DSEI

  • Shrivenham Defence Academy Headquarters

  • Bait Muzna Gallery, Muscat, Oman

  • Mall Galleries, London

  • Christies, London


Selected Commissions and Collections

  • H.R.H Elizabeth II Presenting New Standards - Royal Tanks Regiment

  • H.R.H Prince Michael of Kent

  • General Sir Richard Shirreff, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

  • General Sir Jack Deverell, Commander of Allied Forces North Europe

  • Dundas Castle

  • Kirtling Castle

  • Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

  • The King’s Royal Hussars

  • Honourable Artillery Company

  • The United Grand Lodge of England, Freemasons’ Hall

  • Princess to the Royal Family of the United Arab Emirates

  • The Queen's Royal Lancers

  • The 2nd Battalion The Rifles

  • Aegis, Boardroom Collection

  • Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

  • The Honorary Colonel of The Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers

  • The Kennel Club

  • Leicestershire County Council Artworks Collection

  • Lieutenant Commander MRL. Hayes, DOS, Knight of St John

  • Mark Burrell, High Sheriff of West Sussex & Director of Pearsons PLC

  • Michael Campbell, High Sheriff of Hampshire

  • Sir Michael Morland, Retired Judge of the High Court, England & Wales

  • The Museum of Muscat, Oman Royal Collection, Oman

  • Richard Handover, Chief Executive, WHSmith

  • Smith & Williamson, Boardroom Collection


Selected Charities

  • Afghan Aid

  • Afghan Connections

  • Army Benevolent Fund

  • Art for Youth

  • Combat Stress

  • Care for Casualties

  • Cystic Fibrosis Trust

  • Doctors of the World

  • Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children

  • Help for Heroes

  • Macmillan Cancer Support

  • Médecins Sans Frontières

  • Royal National Lifeboat Association

  • Walking with the Wounded

Personal Statement 2016

War & Art

Light in the Darkest Corners of Existence

In the face of conflict, the beauty of being human resides in our hope.

As a war artist, I have always been fascinated by the power of the still image to express human history. Having worked in Iraq and Afghanistan for the past decade, and more recently with refugees in Lesbos, Calais & Dunkirk, my work is an exploration of the short and long term repercussions of conflict. 

Within the noise and haste of today’s digital world, I turn to the quieter and more deliberate medium of paint to reveal the unseen stories of courage, sacrifice and tribulation that are often found, hidden, in the shadows of war.

My abiding focus lies in the men, women and children affected by war and the human stories behind the news headlines, the individuals behind the politics. As such, my paintings are an attempt to illuminate and to reveal the human face of conflict, and to find light in the darkest corners of existence. 

In essence my work is as much about the hope that can rise from the embers, as it is about the poignancy and pathos of war. It is about sacrifice and remembrance, exile and despair, but it is also about tenacity and faith. My art asks us to consider the courage of soldiers and civilians alike, the fearlessness of young Afghan women determined to seek an education, the plight of the thousands of unaccompanied refugee children today, and the hope that sustains the displaced. 

At a time when the darkness seems to be getting closer, with a deepening of complexities, apprehensions and divisions, my work is about the urgent need for empathy, understanding & respect for our fellow human beings, as we honour the fallen, and remember all who live under the shadow of war today.