Saturday, December 31, 2011

Artwork of Soldiers Through the Last Century

An exhibit (now unfortunately over) was presented in Philadelphia regarding the art of the military while they have been away at various wars.  Although this wasn't formal art therapy, it appears to be art as therapy, and a way of documenting moments that were likely difficult to put into words.  Working in a military environment shows me that this is not new, and that art will be a longstanding need for those serving in the armed forces, as well as with their families.

Dramatic artwork by US soldiers shows a century of war through their eyes 
Last updated at 6:31 PM on 31st December 2011

Since the first Americans marched off to fight the British for independence, soldiers have been chronicling US wars with paintings and drawings that show the conflicts from the perspective of the troops on the ground. 

Here are just a few of the 1,500 works of art by servicemen and women that were on display at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia as part of their Art of the American Solider exhibition. Beginning with portrayals of trench warfare in World War I, the artworks cover every American conflict through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Some are simple displays depicting the boredom and monotony of everyday life in the military. Others show darker truths about war -- portraits of combat's stress, trauma and weariness etched into the faces of servicemen. The art also often shows the ruination that war brings to a landscape and the people around it -- burned out buildings and devastated families. 

Artistically, they run the gamut from realism to abstraction. However, most of the works tend to have more literal and less obtuse interpretations. The exhibit was launched in the fall of 2010 to coincide with American combat troops beginning to return home from Iraq. It ran until March 2011. 



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