Current Work
Raising Stanley
StoryTellers Nuit Blanche (2013)
Official Portrait of Michaëlle Jean
27th Governor General of Canada (2012)
tea/leaves (2010)
Afghanistan (2007-09)
(Canadian Forces Artist Program)
Blanche Dot Doris (2008)
Doris (2008-10)
Marjorie (2006-07)
Cut (2005-07)

Assortment (2009-2015)

guest artist
Barbara Bailey

Triage book

Exhibitions & news






Self Portraits
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Past Series
Are You Being Served? small 2005
Are You Being Served? 2004-05

New Directions

Still Life Gouache

Book Illustration



Triage: An artist in Kandahar
9 x 9 inches, 52 pages, full colour, soft cover
Price: $29.95

Available at the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa School of Art or contact Karen Bailey.

Triage: An artist in Kandahar is a beautiful and comprehensive record of the paintings and sketches inspired by Karen Bailey's visit to Afghanistan in 2007 as an appointed military artist.
This body of work honours the dedication and compassion shown by Canadian nurses, doctors and medical technicians as they cared for injured Afghan men and children.

Featuring full colour reproductions of twenty paintings and many sketches, this book also includes: Karen's account of her experiences at a triage hospital in a war zone, a foreword by Dr. Laura Brandon, Historian, Art and War, Canadian War Museum and the personal observations of medical personnel who served at Role 3 Hospital, Kandahar.

The School of Music Poets of Canberra, Australia present
"In Response to Triage"
A collection of poems inspired by Triage: An Artist in Kandahar
click above for link to poems
Books available through Karen bailey

The “Triage” collection will remain together as a permanent testament to the dedication of the Canadian military medical personnel who have served at Role 3 Kandahar. With its focus on life and healing, “Triage” serves as a positive image of Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan.

In June 2007, I traveled to Afghanistan (at the special request of Canadian Forces Health Services) as a volunteer appointed military artist Canadian Forces Artists Program (CFAP) to document, specifically, medical personnel caring for wounded soldiers at the Role 3 Hospital, Kandahar Air Field.

To my surprise, the cramped ward in Kandahar was filled, not with injured Canadian soldiers, but rather, housed wounded Afghan men, many of them civilians and most distressing, injured Afghan children. As the only artist in the CFAP (2006-07) to travel to Afghanistan and one of very few Canadian women artists to enter theatre (past and present), I have been motivated to paint the trauma and care I witnessed at the Role 3 Hospital. As my painting evolves in this series, my emphasis has shifted from the military medical personnel to the injured Afghan patients and ultimately, I explore the interaction between the staff and their patients.

My paintings convey stories of sudden trauma and slow recovery.

During my stay, I sketched Afghan patients (with their permission) and photographed the medical staff at work. As the military medical personnel I encountered in Kandahar have returned to Canada, they’ve visited my Ottawa studio to sit to me. This documentation has become the basis for my Kandahar works.

Whether in the tenderness of a nurse cleaning the tracheotomy of a teenaged blast victim, a four year old boy undergoing surgery, technicians preparing a patient in halo traction for an x-ray, or the intensity of doctors on their morning rounds, my paintings speak to both the trauma experienced by the Afghan patients and the commitment of these dedicated medical workers.

The four drawings above (a selection from my sketchbook) were sketched from life at the Role 3 Hospital in Kandahar.

Special Note: The creation of the Triage paintings and the Triage book have been entirely self-funded by the artist.