The War Room Project: an anti-war painted art installation by William T. Ayton
the room
gallery one: related works
gallery two: precursor works
events & schedule
news & press


Warning: some of the images on this site are disturbing, but much less disturbing than actual war.

THE WAR ROOM….you can't look away.


Welcome to The War Room Project, the website for an anti-war art installation by William T. Ayton. The site will be updated regularly; visit Gallery One, Gallery Two and News for new art, project development and progress reports.

You can also email us here.


The War Room seeks to:
*promote peace by portraying the futility, brutality, and human dimension of war;
*offset media images of war that emphasize military prowess and precision, hyper-nationalistic glory, and missionary zeal, yet downplay the human cost of war;
*explore ourselves as warriors, victims, and/or witnesses; and
*inspire viewers to reach their own conclusions about war and our respective roles in it.


The War Room installation is constructed of four wall-sized panels depicting fundamental aspects of war: warriors, victims, witnesses, and aftermath. Unlike conventional war rooms designed to devise military strategy, Ayton’s War Room forces a provocative confrontation with the brutal realities and consequences of war. Inside the almost claustrophobic space, intense images engulf the viewer compelling us to face fundamental questions of where we each stand in the war room.

You can’t look away. We identify with the powerful and ravaged figures portrayed in the war room; we see ourselves as the warriors, victims, and witnesses; and we recognize the bleak desolation and alienation of the aftermath that we all experience in our daily struggle to make sense of these turbulent times.

Currently, several possible venues for the installation are being considered, as well as possible exhibitions of The War Room prototype and related art. The exhibition schedule of events will be posted as itinerary is confirmed. Meanwhile, initial studies and related art has been shown at the "War and Peace: Artists' Voices" Exhibition at Gallery 218 in Milwaukie, WI. and at the "Art of War" online gallery at

Preliminary studies (pencil sketches) for the panels can be seen online in "the room."  "Gallery one, related works" features more detailed sketches and recent works by Ayton with references and echos to The War Room panels. "Gallery two, precursor works" presents images of Ayton's art from previous years dealing with related topics: human rights, Hiroshima, war and peace. In this context, The War Room stems from a larger body of work by Ayton addressing global themes. As the art work for the project continues to be developed, it will be posted on this site.


While the installation intends to reach a broad, public audience primarily in urban, international centers, the War Room Project website will reach viewers anywhere in the world with online access. In the post-9/11 climate, the American public has been inundated with images of nationalism. At the same time, in the name of patriotism and “homeland defense,” unprecedented limits on free speech threaten to curtail and inhibit artistic expression, especially on vital policy issues such as war and peace, national security and civil liberty, racism and tolerance. As a result, the media-numbed public has been effectively sheltered from provocative art addressing fundamental questions. The War Room intends to puncture this invisible shield by reaching out to audiences and taking a stand for peace and tolerance through art.


When the tapestry of Picasso's Guernica was covered up for a Colin Powell speech at the U.N. (February 2003), I knew I had to do something. The War Room project is my response. The project is intended as a thoughtful & meditative consideration of the subject of war. After millennia of human existence, it seems we can't get past the urge to solve our problems by wantonly destroying each other. This to me, far from being a noble achievement of humankind, conversely shows us to be little more than savages, despite whatever technological, medical, philosophical, artistic and other "advances" we have made. At our root, we still revel in killing one another and wrecking our fragile planet in the process.

That's simply not good enough, and it has to stop.


William T. Ayton, 2003

William T. Ayton
William T. Ayton

About the artist
British painter William T. Ayton has exhibited extensively across Europe and North America, with shows at the U.N. headquarters in Geneva, the U.S. Senate Rotunda in Washington, D.C., and World EXPO ’92 in Seville. Ayton is best known for the international, 11-city tour of his work inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which was featured on national television for the CBC. In the late 1990s, he was a recipient of NYFA fiscal sponsorship for the North American tour of his human rights exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the UDHR. His drawings and illustrations have been featured in The New York Times, Paris/Atlantic, The Citizen, and many other journals. After living and working in Edinburgh, Madrid, Paris, and New York City, Mr. Ayton has settled in upstate New York with his family.

Click here for a list of selected exhibitions.