AN EXHIBITION depicting the inhumanity of war opens at Bradford Cathedral tomorrow, as a moving prelude to the 100th anniversary of the Bradford Pals regiment's role in the Battle of the Somme.

Unobtania, by Cleckheaton-based artist Peter Robson, features ten paintings, including depictions of World War One battlefields and trenches.

It opens tomorrow and will run until June 18 - ahead of a ceremony in Bradford on July 1 to mark the centenary of the beginning of the Battle of the Somme, reminding people of the sacrifices made by district's heroes from the First World War.

Maggie Peel, chairman of Artspace at Bradford Cathedral, said: "As we prepare to remember the centenary of the Bradford Pals' Battle of the Somme in July, we are very much looking forward to exhibiting the paintings of Peter Robson. Peter uses his surrealist style to convey and critique the inhumanity of war, both past and present and references to the Great War are particularly poignant as we approach the Pals' centenary."

The Bradford Pals were formed from bands of friends or colleagues from all walks of life, who volunteered to serve their country shoulder-to-shoulder. The Bradford World War One Group believes 1,394 men went 'over the top' and 1,017 of these were either killed or injured.

Mr Robson, 56, said of the chance to exhibit in the lead up to the anniversary: "I am massively honoured, plus July 1 is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, where 20,000 men died in the first hour. There were many from the Bradford Pals."

He added: "I am very proud. This is the biggest gig I have had for a few years now. It is a proper gallery here.

"It is not just about getting my work in here, but it is what my work represents as well.

"When I was doing the work, I was conscious of the efforts of all the men that died, and also the work done by women back home.

"One thing I regret is not putting any animals in one of the pictures, like horses. They played a huge role."

The exhibition includes three new pieces of work by Mr Robson, who has displayed his art at Bradford Brewery and The Record Cafe in the recent past.

"There are three new ones," said Mr Robson. "There is one with an Ireland flag depicting the Easter Uprising in 1916, which shows that Britain was pre-occupied with fighting Germany while there was an uprising at home."

Of the other two new works, one shows a spaceship above a battlefield and the other a large gun and some trenches.

"The spaceship says 'we have come and had a look, but you are too destructive so we'll let you get on with it'," said Mr Robson.

He added: "I think the main message of the exhibition is we have still not learned a lesson. We are still at it today."

Mrs Peel said: "We felt that this was an appropriate exhibition, particularly in the run up to the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

"For July we will be having a historic exhibition in here from the World War One Society in Bradford and also an installation with thousands of poppies.

"This exhibition is a lead up, a more general exhibition about the war, and it does reference the Great War. We thought it was an appropriate exhibition to have leading into the centenary."

She added: "Peter has a very surrealist style, but also has a message about war, about the pity and waste of war, and the human cost of war - which is so relevant with the Great War."

Mr Robson said: "I am really grateful to Maggie and the cathedral. It is amazing to have this opportunity.

"It is a wonderful, historic building. It is a wonderful space. I don't think many Bradfordians know this art space exists.

"I did think my work would be too edgy for here and too out there. But they have been really supportive.

"They thought long and hard about me coming here, because some of my work is quite graphic. My work is honest - what you see is what you get."

Mr Robson added: "Bradford, for all its issues, because it has an edge, it is good for artists like me. I don't find that in Leeds and Huddersfield."

There is an invitation-only preview of the exhibition tonight, when Mr Robson will give a talk about his work.

The exhibition officially opens tomorrow and can be viewed between 9am and 4.30pm Monday to Saturday, and from 11.30am to 4pm on Sundays.