"The inevitable suggestion of Latin America": Linda Kitson and Leon Golub report to London in the aftermath of the Falklands/Malvinas war of 1982


  • Clare Carolin University of Oxford



Palabras clave:

Linda Kitson, Frank Kitson, Leon Golub, Falklands/Malvinas war, 1982, Thatcherism, Reaganism, official war artists, global north, global south, low intensity operations, race, gender, Northern Ireland, Guerra de las Malvinas/Falklands, Thatcherismo


Este documento se centra en el estudio comparativo de dos trabajos presentados en Londres en el verano de 1982. Los dibujos de la ilustradora británica Linda Kitson realizados durante su encargo por el Artistic Records Committee (ARC) del Imperial War Museum (IWM) como Artista Oficial de la Guerra de las Malvinas por un lado, y la exposición Mercenaries and Interrogations del pintor estadounidense Leon Golub en el Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), por el otro. El objetivo es desentrañar el significado de “América Latina” como imaginario del norte global, específicamente en Gran Bretaña y Estados Unidos. El artículo analiza las representaciones de Kitson y Golub de “América Latina” dentro de la lógica de representación de la política Thatcherista alineada con la de Estados Unidos, y temas de nacionalismo defensivo, individualismo y racismo militarizado. Estos relatos oficiales y no oficiales del conflicto en el sur del mundo también se consideran en el contexto de las redes militares y artísticas y de la doctrina del tío del Teniente General Sir Frank Kitson sobre las operaciones de baja intensidad.

This paper focuses on two contrasting bodies of work presented in London in the summer of 1982. British illustrator Linda Kitson’s eye-witness drawings made during her commission by the Artistic Records Committee (ARC) of the Imperial War Museum (IWM) as Official Artist of the Falklands War and American painter Leon Golub’s exhibition Mercenaries and Interrogations at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA). The aim is to unravel how “Latin America” signified as an imaginary of the global north, specifically in Britain and the USA.  The paper analyses Kitson and Golub’s depictions of  “Latin America” within the representational logic of US aligned Thatcherist politics, and issues of defensive nationalism, individualism and militarized racism.  These official and unofficial accounts of conflict in the global south are also considered within the context of the military/artistic networks and Lieutenant General Sir Frank Kitson’s – Linda Kitson’s uncle – doctrine of low intensity operations.

Biografía del autor/a

Clare Carolin, University of Oxford

Ruskin School of Art, DPhil Researcher


Archive Sources

IWM Board of Trustees, Minutes for Meeting March 29, 1972, IWM Museum Archive.

ITN News, July 29, 1982, Official Artist Arrives at Brize Norton, IWM Film Archive, FAL 16371.

ARC Minutes for Meeting of 27 April, 1982, IWM Museum File ENG/2/ACC/2/1/1, IWM Museum Archive.

ARC Meeting Minutes, 1 February, 1988, ENG/2/ACC/2/1/1, IWM Museum Archive.

Rupert Colin Frank Nichol, (2002) Catalogue number 23450 IWM Oral History Archive, http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80022266 [Accessed 2017, November 11th ]

Periodical Articles

Unattributed (1982). Ladies of War, Daily Express, 12 May.

Unattributed (1982). Woman Artist Joins Fighting Men, The Guardian, 12 May. Unattributed (1982).

News Summary, The New York Times, Sunday May 23. http://www.nytimes.com/1982/05/23/nyregion/news-summary-sun day-may-23-1982.html [Accessed 2017, November 11th ] Anderson, Zoe (2011).

Empire’s Fetish: Sexualised Nationalism and gendering of the Falklands War. National Identities, Vol. 13, No. 2, 189-204.

Barnes, Julian (2002). The Worst Reported War since the Crimean. The Guardian, 25 February. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2002/feb/25/broadcasting.falkl ands [Accessed 2017, November 11th ]

Dearden, Nick (2012). Argentina’s “Falklands debt” goes to the heart of our unethical foreign policy. The New Statesman, 10 April. https://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/world-affairs/2012/04/argent ina%E2%80%99s-falklands-debt-goes-heart-our-unethical-foreign-poli cy [Accessed 2017, October 25th ]

Fisher, Jean (2009). The Other Story and the Past Imperfect. Tate Papers no. 12, http://www.tate.org.uk/research/publications/tate-papers/no-12/the -other-story-and-the-past-imperfect [Accessed 2017, November 10th ]

Glover-James, Ian (1992). May 31 Falklands: Reagan phone call to Thatcher (urges ceasefire). Sunday Times, 8 March 1992; https://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/110526 [Accessed 2017, October 10th ]

Grace, Claire (2011). Counter-Time: Group Material’s Chronicle of US Intervention in Central and South America, Afterall, Issue 26.

Greenslade, Roy (2002). A New Britain, A New Kind of Newspaper. The Guardian, 25 February. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2002/feb/25/pressandpublishi ng.falklands. [Accessed 2017, November 10th ]

Hall, Anthea (1982). Anthea Hall Meets the Task Force War Artist on QE2; Flying the Flag of Art. Sunday Telegraph, 16 May.

Hughes, James (2014). Frank Kitson in Northern Ireland and the ‘British way’ of counterinsurgency. History Ireland, Issue 1, Volume 22.

Kitson, Linda and Thompson, J. (2017), Drawing the Falklands: Linda Kitson and Julian Thompson Discuss War Artists, Art and Memory. RUSI Journal, Routledge, Volume 1622, 60-66.

Law, Ian (2015). The Scarman Report, Encyclopedia of Race, Nationalism and Ethnicity, Wiley Blackwell, 30 December http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9781118663202 [Accessed 2017, November 10th ]

McEwen, John (1982). Art, Confrontations. The Spectator, 7 August. http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/7th-august-1982/25/art. [Accessed 2017, October 25th ]

Exhibition catalogues

Bird, Jon, Nairne, Sandy and Newman, Michael (1982). Leon Golub: Mercenaries and Interrogations. London: ICA.

Leon Golub in conversation with Martha Rosler at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, November 1, 1984. In: Leon Golub: Bite Your Tongue (2015). London: Serpentine Gallery and Koenig Books, 138-147.

Wilcox, Tim, Aulich, James and Taylor, John (1989). The Falklands Factor: Representations of a Conflict. Manchester: Manchester City Art Galleries.


Ault, Julie (ed.) (2012). Show and Tell: A Chronicle of Group Material. London: Four Corners Books.

Berger, John (1972). Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin.

Foss, Brain (2007). War Paint: Art, War, State and Identity 1939-45, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, New Haven and London

Gilroy, Paul (1987). There Ain’t no Black in the Union Jack: The Cultural Politics of Race and Nation. London: Routledge.

Greengrass, Paul (1992). Foreword. In: Aulich, James (ed). Framing the Falklands: War, Nationhood, Culture. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Kitson, Frank (1972) Low Intensity Operations: Subversion, Insurgency, Peacekeeping. London: Faber.

Kitson, Frank (1960). Gangs and Counter-Gangs. London: Barrie and Rockliff.

Kitson, Linda (1982). The Falklands War: A Visual Diary. London: Mitchell Beazley in Association with IWM.

Obrist, Hans Ulrich (ed) (1996). Leon Golub: Do Paintings Bite. Berlin: Hatje Cantz.

Roseneil, Sasha (1995). Disarming Patriarchy: Feminism and Political Action at Greenham. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Taylor, Stan (1982). The National Front in English Politics. London: MacMillan.

Wright, Patrick (1985). On Living in the Old Country: The National Past in Contemporary Britain. London: Verso.

Brocades Zaalberg, Thijs (2016). Soldiers and Civil Power: Supporting Or Substituting Civil Authorities in Modern Peace Operations. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Conference papers and symposia

Connell, Kieran (2017). Photographing Handsworth: race, rioting and the politics of community. Decolonising History: Visualisations of Conflict in a ‘Post-War’ Europe. Centre for the Study of Contemporary Art: University College London. 18 March

RAND Corporation (1963). Counterinsurgency, A Symposium. April 16-20, 1962, RAND Washington.


Combat 84 (1982). Orders of the Day. Victory Records.

Moving image and audio sources

Thatcher, Margaret (1978). World in Action,. BBC. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHhKI5ijnxQ [Accessed 2017, October 15th ]

Amir, Graham (Cross-Section) (1982). The Dole (Come On, Sign On). John Peel Show. BBC Radio 1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SxscZWUdO4 [Accessed 2017, November 10th ].

Government Reports Government of Northern Ireland (1972). Violence and Civil Disturbances in Northern Ireland in 1969 Report of Tribunal of Inquiry Chairman: The Hon. Mr. Justice Scarman. Published in Belfast by her Majesty’s Stationary Office http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/hmso/scarman.htm [Accessed 2017, October 24th ].