The exhibition opening will take place Thursday, June 20, at 7:00 p.m. in the Herndon Gallery in South Hall on the Antioch College campus. Aaron Hughes, artist and Iraq War veteran, will discuss the exhibit and his work during the opening at 8:00 p.m. The exhibition will continue through August 16, 2013.
Co-curated by Antioch College alumnae Dennie Eagleson ’71 and Lynn Zimmerman Estomin ’72, Coming Home will include recent work by veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who work with Warrior Writers and Combat Paper, two organizations that provide a safe space for veterans to express their experience in war and returning home through creative writing and visual art. The process also generates a much-needed conversation between veterans and civilians regarding our collective responsibilities and shared understanding of war.
Through Combat Paper papermaking workshops, veterans use the uniforms they wore in service to create works of art. The uniforms are cut up, weathered, and formed into sheets of paper. Participants use the transformative process of papermaking to reclaim their uniforms as art and express their experiences with the military.
Warrior Writers fosters artistic exploration and expression through casual, welcoming workshops and retreats for veterans. Art making becomes the creative tool through which veterans understand and transcend experiences of trauma and emotional disruptions that are not easily identified but constantly felt. Creative works are shared with the public in the form of books, performances, and exhibitions. Using art as language, Warrior Writers helps bridge the gap between veterans and civilians.
Coming Home will feature Aaron Hughes, Warrior Writer and Combat Papermaker, as artist-in-residence, and Ash Kyrie, an Iraq War veteran and sculptor. Hughes and Kyrie will be creating a site-specific installation for the gallery that includes Kyrie’s work Palaver, which hopes to start a dialog about how predator drone technology removes accountability from our government and American citizens in the context of modern warfare.
Hughes’ work seeks out poetics and moments of beauty, in order to construct new languages and meanings out of personal and collective traumas. He uses these to create projects that attempt to de-construct systems of dehumanization and oppression. Hughes plans to create a space where visitors will ask questions about their relationship to the world—a world that’s filled with dehumanization, war, and destruction; a world that is filled with beauty, love, and humanity.
Veteran artists represented in the exhibition are: Chantelle Bateman, Drew Cameron, Toby Hartbarger, Amy Herrera, Aaron Hughes, Kevin Kilgore, Ash Kyrie, Iris Madelyn, Robynn Murray, Jennifer Pacanowski, John Turner, and Eli Wright.
Also represented will be the Veterans Book Project, a project conceived by Monica Haller to allow veterans to tell their story through writing and visual art. The resulting artist books are referred to as “Objects of Deployment.”
The exhibition will also include three of Estomin’s multimedia collaborations with veterans. The Warrior Writers website (www.warriorwriters.org) showcases the creative writing and visual art of 40 veterans; Out of Step, a music/dance/video collaboration, features the voices of four young female veterans; and a video collage of readings by veteran writers created for this exhibition.
In addition to the opening reception for the exhibition, Antioch College and the Herndon Gallery will host a curatorial talk by Lynn Estomin on Friday, June 14, at 8:00 p.m. On campus July 26 and 27, Warrior Writers will offer two days of writing workshops and trainings for veterans and local allies. There will be a poetry reading by workshop participants on Saturday, July 27, at 7:30 p.m. in the Herndon Gallery that is open and free to the public.