National Veterans Art Museum Announces New Show in Honor of International Women’s Day

Not About Bombs Features Five Iraqi Women Using Art to Address Nationality and Conflict, Expectation and Representation

Chicago, Ill.—(ENEWSPF)–February 25, 2012 – On Saturday, March 9, 2013, the National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM) will host the opening of Not About Bombs, a celebrated exhibit featuring work by five Iraqi women artists. Admission to the NVAM will be free all day with light refreshments offered from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. A keynote address will commence at 3 p.m. with a panel discussion at 4 p.m. Panelists include Tricia Khutoretsky, Not About Bombs curator; Erica Slone, NVAM artist and veteran; Jerica Arents, Adjunct Faculty at DePaul University in the Peace, Justice & Conflict Studies department; and Dr. Savneet Talwar, Associate Professor School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Art Therapy Graduate Department. The panel discussion will be moderated by Johanna Buwalda, Director of Mental Health at VVAW Military and Veterans Counseling, Coordinator for The Soldiers Project Chicago, and clinical volunteer for the Kovler Center for the Treatment of Survivors of Torture and the Civilian Medical Resource Network.

The show’s opening is timed to coincide with the yearly celebration of International Women’s Day. Annually on March 8, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. All around the world, women are connected by activities ranging from business conferences and networking events to local women’s craft markets and theatric performances. The exhibit also highlights National Women’s History Month.

Not About Bombs is curated by Tricia Khutoretsky and features work by Sundus Abdul Hadi, Tamara Abdul Hadi, Julie Adnan, Dena Al-Adeeb, and Sama Alshaibi.

According to Art Committee co-chair Ash Kyrie, the National Veterans Art Museum is proud to present Not About Bombs to coincide with International Women’s Day and National Women’s History month. However, Kyrie adds, “Not About Bombs is not just about gender. Featuring art by five female Iraqi artists, Not About Bombs also raises questions of nationality, conflict, art, expectation and representation.”

According to Erica Slone, Not About Bombs is important because it gives viewers a way to discuss war in a more inclusive and expansive way and to show how war affects people who are not combatants.  

Slone states, “Part of the project in bringing Not About Bombs to the National Veterans Art Museum is the effort to recontextualize modern narratives of war and of war participants. This exhibit insists that viewers broaden their perspective of war and the costs of war. The artists in this show are Iraqi women dealing with questions of identity and representations amid anti-Islam rhetoric and conflict. By using their unique positions as Iraqis, as women, as survivors of war, and as artists, they are pushing the discourse of war beyond conventional expectations.”

Slone also notes the provocative direction of the art in the exhibition, adding, “The art in this show pushes war art in new directions, finds new metaphors to reach arts patrons, and expands the visual vocabulary of war beyond grenades, guns and other weapons. Simply put, this show is not about bombs. It’s about art and the way art can be a catalyst for bigger discussions, and how art can operate to bridge cultural misunderstandings and misrepresentations.”  

Executive Director Levi Moore celebrated Erica Slone’s return to the NVAM as coordinator of Not About Bombs. Slone previously exhibited in and curated last year’s all-female exhibition Overlooked / Looked Over. Moore states, “We are pleased to have Erica Slone facilitate the exhibition and panel discussion for Not About Bombs and to help us honor International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. Erica’s investment in broadening the dialogue over war and the costs of war–especially as they relate to identity questions of all kinds–are a rich contribution to the museum’s mission.”

The show will be open to the public from Saturday, March 9, 2013 through Fall 2013. For more information, visit the museum’s website at www.nvam.org.

About the Speakers and Panelists
Jerica Arents is a peace activist and educator based in Chicago. She teaches at DePaul University and is on the staff of Pace e Bene, an organization that offers education, tools, and training in integrated nonviolence and direct action. She recently spent a month in Afghanistan with Voices for Creative Nonviolence learning about the effects of the occupation on ordinary Afghan people. Jerica is also a member of Witness Against Torture and helped start the White Rose Catholic Worker, a house of hospitality and resistance. She is interested in radical, critical education that promotes peacemaking and nonviolent change.

Johanna (Hans) Buwalda, M.E., M.A., L.C.P.C., was born and raised in the Netherlands. After some roaming around the world and living in various countries, she settled in Chicago in 1994. Johanna has a Master Degree in Education in Early Childhood Development, and a Master Degree in Psychology. Johanna has more than 20 years of experience as a therapist, administrator, and trainer working with survivors of war including refugees, torture survivors, development workers, and veterans in the Netherlands, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and the US. She has written and presented extensively about her work. She currently has a private practice in Chicago, and serves as Director of Mental Health at VVAW Military and Veterans Counseling, as the coordinator for The Soldiers Project Chicago, and as a clinical volunteer for the Kovler Center for the Treatment of Survivors of Torture and the Civilian Medical Resource Network. Johanna feels strongly about issues pertaining to justice, equality, and peace. These values guide both her personal life and her work.

Tricia Khutoretsky is a visual arts curator based in Minneapolis. Along with an M.A. in Arts and Cultural Management, she draws from her childhood growing up in the Middle East to work with the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project, curating exhibits that focus on American and Iraqi perspectives on the Iraq war. Not About Bombs follows a previous exhibit, Navigating the Aftermath which debuted at the University of Minnesota Regis Center and continued on a state-wide tour with a screening of the film, The Unreturned, which documented the stories of displaced Iraqis. She also recently conducted a series of interviews with artists, filmmakers and writers for 10 Years and Counting, a project dedicated to raising awareness of the 10-year invasion of Afghanistan. Tricia currently works as the Curator and Director of Public Functionary, a new non-profit exhibition space opening in Minneapolis later this Spring.

Erica Slone joined the U.S. Air Force in 2002. Serving six years, Slone deployed multiple times in support of the Global War on Terror. After the completion of her enlistment in 2008, she separated from the military to study art at The Ohio State University. Through her own difficulties reconciling her experiences and readjusting into civilian life, Slone became concerned with the lack of support for returning veterans and her community’s few, generalized understandings surrounding service and our nation’s wars. She became involved in OSU’s newly developed Veterans Learning Community, in which veterans transform their experiences into relevant research. In January 2010, Slone received a grant through OSU’s Urban Arts Space to co-curate the Visualizing the Experiences of War (ViEW) exhibition. ViEW aimed to broaden the narrative of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by having original artworks expressing personal stories of war created through veteran and artist collaborations. She has conducted several art-making workshops in conjunction with the ViEW exhibition in effort to further develop the dialogue between returning veterans and the civilian community of Columbus, Ohio. Slone received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in sculpture in 2012. She previously curated Overlooked / Looked Over at the National Veterans Art Museum in March 2012.

Savneet Talwar is an Associate Professor at School of the Art Institute Chicago. Her research examines feminist politics, critical theories of difference, social justice and questions of resistance.  Using an interdisciplinary approach, she is interested in community based art practices; cultural trauma; performance art and public cultures, as they relate to art therapy practice and pedagogy. She currently uses a portable studio to work in community settings to create critical dialogue regarding reproductive freedom, power and social inequity as they relate to race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability.  Her current projects are: Wandering Uterus Project: A DIY Movement for Reproductive Justice, Healing Justice workshops for domestic violence lawyers in the Legal Assistance Department of Chicago and creating an open studio for South Asian Women at the Hamdard Center.

About the National Veterans Art Museum

The National Veterans Art Museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and exhibition of art inspired by combat and created by veterans. No other gallery in the world focuses on the subject of war from an artistic perspective, making this collection truly unique. The National Veterans Art Museum addresses both historical and contemporary issues related to military service in order to give patrons of all backgrounds insight into the effects of war and to provide veterans an artistic outlet to work through their military and combat experiences.

The National Veterans Art Museum is located at 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. The National Veterans Art Museum will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is free. For group admission reservations, call the Museum at 312/326-0270 or visit www.nvam.org.

Patrons of the museum can access art from the permanent collection and biographical information on the artists through the NVAM Collection Online, a recently launched online and high-resolution archive of every piece of art in the museum’s permanent collection. The NVAM Collection Online can be found at www.nvam.org/collection-online.