Ileostomy opening

Place Asia: Burma Thailand Railway, Nakom Paton
Accession Number ART90906
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall: sheet: 28.6 x 19cm; card: 34.2 x 22.2cm
Object type Work on paper
Physical description watercolour heightened with white over pencil on paper on card
Maker Chalker, Jack
Place made Thailand
Date made 1945
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


A study of an ileostomy opening on the right side of the abdomen. An ileostomy is an opening created that brings the end of the small intestine to the surface of the skin. Intestinal waste then passes through the opening, which is collected in an external pouch attached to the skin. They are usually located above the groin on the abdomen. One of the main reasons a prisoner might be in need of an ileostomy was inflammatory bowel disease.

Jack Chalker, serving in the Royal Artillery, was captured at the fall of Singapore. In October 1942 he was in a party sent to Thailand to construct the Burma-Thailand Railway. Chalker secretly made drawings of the various camps and conditions endured by the prisoners. He drew and painted on whatever materials he could find or steal from the Japanese, hiding his work in sections of bamboo buried in the ground, the attap roofs of huts, or the artificial legs worn by amputees in the hospital camps. His work provides a candid and moving record of the prisoners' suffering.