This artist photographed real life soldiers posing as toys to draw attention to a conflict in Africa

Artist Simon Brann Thorpe has photographed soldiers posing as toy figurines to draw attention to the ongoing conflict over disputed territory in Western Sahara.

Thorpe first became interested in the area a decade ago when he photographed landmine victims there.

"That was what introduced me to the bizarre, absurd nature of the conflict and how and why it’s remained invisible for so long," Thorpe told

Western Sahara borders Algeria and is the size of New Zealand. The land has been the subject of conflict between the Polisario Front and Morocco since 1975, after Morocco annexed the territory.

The over riding question was why has this conflict in Western Sahara remained so utterly invisible for 40 years? I then attempted to imagine the emotional and physical manifestations of being trapped, powerless, in a perpetually unresolved cycle of postcolonial conflict.

Thorpe worked with Polisario Front soldiers over five weeks for the project, which has now been released as a photo book.

The concept of Toy Soldiers came to me out of this cycle of thought and it just seemed to fit perfectly with the situation on the ground as well as allowing for people in the west to have an emotional, physical and nostalgic response to a completely foreign reality, triggered by a familiar symbol from their own childhood and culture.

Thorpe is currently planning two more projects with conflict at their cores. You can follow him on Twitter here and Facebook here. You can order the book here.

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