Rock Your Drop: Drop of Consciousness

The National Veterans Art Museum Teen Council was established in July 2014. Since then, teenage artists have come together to explore art-making, collaboration, the artist practice, and the veteran art movement as a whole. Working alongside artist mentors, the Teen Council members considered how their individual experiences living in Chicago fit into the larger context of promoting peace. The artwork featured includes individual and collaborative ideas in response to peacemaking using installation, painting, graffiti arts, drawing, and mixed media collage. There are specific references to Chicago, using symbols of the city: skyline and landmarks, the Chicago flag, flowing water in reference to the lake and river, cleansing, healing, and rebirth, hands reaching out towards peace, recent articles and text about gun violence, and flowers as symbols peace, tranquility, and purity. NVAM Teen Council uses art-making as an instigator of change and asks the question: How do we come together?

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Reaching for Hope
Elias Gallegos & Juanita Rodriguez
Often when we see something shining into the water it gives us a sense of loss or something fading away. Lately, people have seemed to lost their sense of compassion or remorse for others and even their ability to grasp the significance of taking a life. The Drop of Consciousness represents those feelings, so using the necklace as a symbol of these values, I had it sinking as a way to show how we’ve lost these values. The hand reaching in to grab it was a way of showing that we can get these values back if we try to. I want to thank Juanita for helping me paint that water even when she was helping with another project. I also wanted to point out that the lack of skin color was mainly to show the lack of need to identify a specific race other that the human race.

 

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Who You Are Today
Kate Pensamiento and Juanita Rodriguez
My project is addressing issues that relate to being a young adult today. There are many events that have a huge impact on an individual that can change their perspectives. Violent events leave a negative view in their eyes that can make them fear certain parts of the world.  No one should fear life but some people have no other option due to the violence happening around the world.

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The Chicago Drop
Joseph Torres
My piece uses 3 separate but valuable symbols: the Chicago skyline, the Chicago flag and the tear/drop of consciousness.  Each individually has its own meaning but the way in which I am presenting them combines the flag with the tear/drop and uses the skyline in the background as a sense of “home.” The drop on the flag represents a universal sense of sympathy for the families of Chicago.  The tear being on the flag is also stating that as an individual we are small, but if we all come together for the sake of the city then we are strong and can overcome the struggles.  The skyline offers relief and harmony. The flag is a symbol of our loyalty to Chicago and being united for a better future.

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Celestial Drop on Tragedy
Michelle Duran, Isabella Garza, Grace Deer, Camila Cortez, Jaliyah Lodygowski, Layla Bowling
Our project was made of many complex parts coming together into one unified message and work of art. In one part of this project, a textured gold canvas was covered with building and clouds at the bottom. This was done to represent the landscape in heaven. On a separate canvas, a lotus flower was placed within a body of blood-red water.  This symbolizes hope in the midst of violent conflict.  We considered the meaning of the lotus flower which includes: rebirth, purity and creation. These images are layered on top of one another to add emphasis to the many sections. Our use of 3D and @d was done in order to show that hope exists in the real world, not just in fairy tales.

 

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Drops of Society
Christopher Lopez, Mya Gonzalez, Michael Gonzalez, Layla Bowling, Matthew Gorski
The inspiration for “drops of society” was shootings that have plagued the American society. We used paper machè to create three drops and made three yarn balls filled with articles of shootings that have happened throughout the U.S.  The reason why we made so many drops was to symbolize all the tears that people have cried over these tragedies.

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The Rising Rose City
Sema’J Young
I originally got my idea from the internet when I saw a white rose. THe white rose had a black background, so I interpreted the rose as being pure. I took that idea and colored the rose a bit more than half way to say the red rose was becoming pure again. The tear drops falling from the rose causes the rose to lose color which makes it pure again, or it’s rebirth. The drops that land on the city are cleansing the city by making it innocent again. The city is rising from its bad aspects and from the ground. That is how I obtained THe Rising Rose City.

The Healing Flood
Alexis Yracheta
The message behind my watercolor painting is against gun violence. My painting is based on the handful of neighborhoods in Chicago that are facing gun violence everyday. The gray girl walking down the center of the painting represents an unidentifiable nationality, meaning that it can be anyone who can be hurt in these places. The “Drops of Consciousness” are falling from her hands and creating a flood at the bottom of the painting. The flood is then cleansing the neighborhoods from the gun violence. With more people joining the movement or contributing to stopping gun violence, we’ll all be able to cleanse every city from gun violence.

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Conscience & Peace
Christopher Funez and Deasija Kelly
As a citizen in Chicago I worry about being safe in my neighborhood. We collaborated together and created a poster to voice our opinion and stop the violence. In the poster, Conscience & Peace, there are different colors, shapes, and sizes of hands reaching towards a tear drop. The hands represent the different citizen ages and genders. The teardrop represents consciousness. The message our piece is sending out is that the Chicago community should attempt to find the conscious to end violence and enforce peace.

 

YOUmedia: Back of the Yards Creative Community Workshops Summer 2016

Summer programming at Back of the Yards will be split between curriculum focused on the NVAM Permanent Collection and the Operation Mom’s Couch Exhibition currently on display and the Vision Quilt project founded by Cathy DeForest of Washington state.

Students at BoY are predominantly Latino, or middle school- early high school age.  According to CPL YouMedia staff, these youth have been regularly and directly influenced by gang and gun violence in the neighborhood which has some of the highest rates of gun related deaths in the city (this is also true of the Woodsen branch in Roseland where we will also be running programs this summer.)

Weekly goals:

  • 15-20 youth engaged per session
  • Create a cohort of 10+ youth that regularly attend weekly sessions
  • Complete weekly as well as full program projects
  • Gather feedback from participating youth, non participating youth and CPL staff weekly
  • Gather data at beginning and end or summer program from participating and CPL staff
  • Weekly reflection by NVAM staff at each CPL location of programming
  • Document and share on NVAM Outloud as part of working in the open model

Resources:

  • NVAM Staff: Christine Bespalec-Davis
  • Materials provided by
  • NVAM
  •  CPL
  • Vision Quilt
  • Funding staff hours
  • Hive
  • CPL- Non funded partner in development of YouMedia programming around the city of Chicago to underserved neighborhoods
  • Beginning Summer 2016 to 3 branches
  • Expanding in 2016-17 school year and following summer

Expected outcomes for youth as they engage with the NVAM Curriculum:

  1. Greater understanding of teh real impact of war through th eeyes of those who were there.
  2. Learning to look- utilizing teh NVAM permanent Colelction adn current exhibitions to interpret meaning and the ways in which art shares a story unique to the artist and to the audience.
  3. Meet artists actively sharing stories through art making
  4. Feel confident in sharing ideas and stories through artmaking

Expected outcomes for youth as they engage with the Vision Quilt Project:

  1. Students will view Vision Quilt panels made by a variety of people and reflect on the impact of gun violence on their personal lives and in their communities
  1. Students will generate possible solutions to preventing gun violence through short visual and written exercises, followed by discussion.  These activities will allow students’  voices to be heard and introduce the power of art to create dialogue and social change
  1. Students will create their own 18 x 24 panels, with modeled, guided support.  These Vision Quilt panels will be displayed and celebrated at the Camp Sweeney Open House on June 24, 2016
  1. Students will offer ideas on how to involve their families in making Vision Quilt panels in the future

Inspiring kids about the Vision Quilt:

The Vision Quilt is a national grassroots project using the power of art to prevent gun violence.  You will be  creating panels for the Vision Quilt using spray paint, drawing, painting, stencils and the power of writing, with visiting artists to help.

No art experience is needed.

Your Vision Quilt panels will be displayed at the National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago in the fall of 2016. Panels made in Chicago will stay in Chicago and be displayed in libraries, community centers, and places of worship. 

Logistics: Students will participate in 8+ sessions of 2 hours each. The model for each session will follow the model of:  Look, Dialog, Make.

June 28- Session 1 NVAM Curriculum

Introduction: NVAM Permanent Collection and Operation Mom’s Couch

Youth are introduced to the NVAM permanent collection and especially Operation Mom’s Couch.  Slideshow from online sources nvam website, nvamoutloud and Eric’s website.

Impact:Art of the Comic Book Cover

  • Looking more closely at examples of comic book covers by Eric Garcia
  • Students break down the elements that make a successful  comic book cover and design a sketch for a super hero comic book tat include: name, superpower, mission , location , etc
  • Finished drawings were hung up in the space.  Proposal tp make the windows of the space into a comic book emerged
  • Prep for Field trip

July 5- Session 1 Vision Quilt Curriculum

  • Kris shared links to research and learn more about the Vision Quilt and the AIDS quilt
  • These links are meant to help teen understand the inspiration behind their project and provide inspiration for preliminary sketches.  Next session will show examples of the VQ and begin more directed drawing and development

July 12- Session 2 NVAM Curriculum

  • Review visit to NVAM
  • Surveys completed
  • Show examples of VQ—look at any sketches of ideas
  • Begin plan for comic book windows!

Summer Wrap up:

  • Finish Quilt– document and critique
  • Meet with Eric Garcia-
  • Critique comic panels and add art to the windows!
  • Prepare for Vision Quilt Showcase at NVAM

IMPACT Family Center: Flowers for Peace Project

Early this summer, NVAM Education welcomed teens from IMPACT Family Center who participated in a Creative Community workshop with veteran artist Stuart Hall.  IMPACT and NVAM Teen Council members worked with Stuart to learn more about his art practice and what inspires him to make art.  Primarily, they learned about his art intervention work called fleurs de guerre (flowers or war) and participated in making these poppy inspired flowers as well as consider where they would place these flowers as symbols of peace.  IMPACT shared what they did with their flowers after the workshop as well as a film they made that reflects their experience at NVAM and with Stuart.

 

I place this flower at Impact Family Center because peace brings unity and Impact Family Center has a way of bringing people together as community.
I put this flower on my couch. The reason why I have put this on my couch is because this was a couch my grandmother gave to my family, and she passed away. I cherish this couch, and value it.(JPG 51-215 Sent in Previous email)
Every individual deserves to live a prosperous and healthy life full of blessings; the lighting was too bright so I couldn’t take a picture with the words showing. (JPG 7209) 
 
I decided to place my Poppy at Robichaux Park , located on 9247 S Eggleston. In July a neighborhood friend was shot at this park 2 days before his college orientation, and died. I have a lot of friends that still go to this park , along with little kids. This is why I placed my Poppy here. This is a place where peace is needed.
I place this flower here for peace because we need better lives and better people that’s not killing each other over they most craziest things in the world. 
I put this flower on my couch. The reason why I have put this on my couch is because this was a couch my grandmother gave to my family, and she passed away. I cherish this couch, and value it.
My  flower will be placed at Altgeld Park, on the West side of Chicago.  I practice football here in the mornings and there is a large homeless community.  When I walk from the train, you see a lot of them in the stands of the football field just waking up.  I place the flower here for peace in these peoples’ lives as they struggle living every day.

These flowers represent the love that we need to share the world because in order to be peaceful, you have to be loving and spread love to everyone and everywhere.

I put my flower on the stairs to show my steps to greatness.

The Invisible Population- a film by Monique at Free Spirit Media

The Invisible Population is a short film that explores the complicated role of women historically and currently serving in the military.  The film offers insight into veteran affairs and the special needs of women serving our country while offering insight into what is and can be done to aid our returning female veterans.

 

Working with Stuart Hall– reflection by Sema’J

Stuart is a fantastic person to work with. He’s so passionate about his work and what he does. He taught about appropriation and installation. I never had so much fun doing work before until I met Stuart. He’s easy to talk to and chill with because he is a chill person. At times, he can be a little too goofy but he’s still fun. I enjoyed being with Stuart. He has left a long lasting impact on NVAM Teen Council.

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Over the past two weeks NVAM Teen Council has had the time to work with the featured artist, Stuart Hall, on his ongoing body of work entitled “Fleurs De Guerre”. Stuart has been an Artist and Curator in the Chicago Arts Community for over four years and spent 2 weeks with our Teen Council sharing his art practice with us but also teaching us how to make art that re-appropriates and activates spaces around us.  Following our Fluers De Guerre project (which you can also read about on our blog) we developed an installation that would be set up in Humboldt Park.  We divided into 3 groups. Each group focused on a current event or issue that they felt passionately about and came up with a gesture that represented and symbolized this cause.

1–A figure with a watering can:

“The watering can represents water usage and natural resources.  The message of this piece is to represent the many ways people use water as well as the excessive use of water and the need for increased conservation of our natural resources.”- Erin A. and Chris F.

 

2– A figure holding signs over their face- each representing a different Social Media website

“We chose to make our silhouette represent social media because it is a big part of the world today. Also because a lot of people are letting it control who they are and how they behave.  Our silhouette is holding symbols from different social media sites that cover the face to change our opinion of who he/she is.” -Daryl G, Asia J and Keunte W.

 

3– 3 figures with their hands up showing innocence, out to the side showing vulnerability and one pointing its fingers like a gun representing Gun Violence

“My group did a silhouette about gun violence. These silhouettes show how guns are used to hurt many people. Cops are killing colored teens and kids while gangs are killing other kids their age and harmless bystanders.” – Keon C., Jalean, Sema’J Y., Jessica T, Jessica D, Kayla, and Chris L.

 

We cut out silhouettes of these gestures and in only 3 days made 6 cut outs and over 200 flowers to install in the park! It was a lot of fun to set up the art outside and to experience how people walking around the park repsonded to the art.  Most of the people we talked to really liked the work.  It was very windy so we learned a lot about how to fix problems on the spot!  The art work was left up in the park for 2 weeks.

Fluers de Guerre and the Ed Pashke Art Center– Art as Intervention! (by: Sema’J)

 

IMG_20150722_232639_resizedWe did a project with Stuart Hall that called for us to make little flowers and hand them out to people on the streets. On the flowers had little notes that strengthen people and gives them hope. A lot of faces were lit up when we gave them flowers , so the mission was completed. When we got to the Ed Paschke museum it was so cool. His art is different and has many colors. The significance in his realistic drawing look so amazing.  We also learned a lot about him and how he thought things out. Overall, the trip was awesome.

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Summer 2015– Teen Council!

This summer is off and running with a new set of expectations and challenges!

First– WHERE will Teen Council be taking place??!!  We have outgrown the space we used last year and the main gallery space needs to be utilized as, well, a gallery space!  So now what??  While visiting an empty store front where NVAM will be hosting the After School Matters Cross-Regional Art Exhibition on Aug 14 (save the date!) it occurred to me that this was a lot of unused space that would be AWESOME for filling with art in the making!  Thankfully, the building owner agreed! As he put it– if we never say yes to crazy ideas, where would we be?

The move in was…challenging…but now, with 2 weeks under our belt, the impact of this new space is starting to be felt!  New and developing art is on the walls in our open critique space, we have an inspiration wall and our social contract hung proudly for all to see and we are utilizing an old chalkboard wall to keep our schedule on display (so we never miss break time!).   The teens are moving past their initial shy phase and are making meaningful observations and making big plans for the rest of summer!  Starting next week, we begin a 2 week collaboration with veteran artist Stuart Hall. The potential is tremendous. I LOVE SUMMER TEEN COUNCIL!!!  (Stay Tuned!)

NVAM Out Loud sculpts! (With reflection by Natalia S.)

The teen council took their clay making skills to a whole new level by expressing themselves during a sculpture activity. Since this occurred around the same time as midterms, the lesson was left open-ended, allowing for the teens to create whatever was on their minds. Check out the results!

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Here’s a reflection by NVAM Out Loud member Natalia S.:

“I thought that the sculpture activity was pretty interesting. I was able to physically use my hands and fingers to mold something that appealed to me. At first, I really wasn’t so sure what I should make. I tried making a turtle but it was a bit of a dramatic choice for my first time sculpting and I wasn’t really sure how to go about making it. I kept rolling around the clay and practicing with it in my fingers and then BAM I decided to make corals. I love marine biology. My desire to learn more about the topic inspired me to create an oceanic creature. To add a little more texture and make it stand out, I decided to blend pink and yellow together to create a two toned coral sculpture. It actually turned out super cool! I can’t wait to see how it looks when it dries.”

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NVAM Volunteer and Vietnam Veteran Ned Ricks: Revisiting the 10th Calvary, Vietnam 70-71

“When I first viewed Ken Howard’s collection of pictures, it was as if I had encountered a long lost cousin or brother and started sharing memories. We would start with, “Do you remember the time we…” And we would  end up nodding and  smiling, not so much at what had occurred, but more from the experience that someone else had the same memory, the same album of experiences and impressions in their mind as well. His work took me back over forty years to bring some of those memories to just yesterday.”

-Ned Ricks

Ned Ricks, along with being one of our most dedicated volunteers at NVAM, is a retired Major of US Army Reserve and served as the Commanding Officer of  Troop C, 1st Squadron in the 10th Calvary in Vietnam from 1970-71. We are honored to have this video as a testament to the service of Ned and his squadron. We would like to thank Ken Howard for sharing this video with us and giving permission to share it online.

NMMA Field Trip: Johnny G.

Well I had a great time at the National Museum of Mexican Art. I learned a lot about art from my Mexican heritage. For example there was an installation of a real sit-down lawn mower that looked a low-rider. I was interested in that piece, attracted to the golden steering wheel and seat. Our group took pictures in the NMMA as well as outside at a tree. We went on a walking tour of Pilsen. There were a few murals painted on the sides of buildings. One mural that stood out to me showed an old man laying down with barbed wire wrapping around him. That stood out to me because it seemed like the man was locked inside of the barbed wire and could not escape.

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Now we are planning our last project. I have a couple of plans. I either want to create a song or a mural. I want to create a song that expresses the different things that we have done and worked on in Teen Council. I would create lyrics for the song, inspired by a workshop we had with Mel L. I was also thinking of creating a mural: there would be a lyrics of a song (that I wrote) on one side and then two people (representing Veterans) painted next to it.

love art peace.

by:johnny j. g.

National Veterans Art Museum at the Chicago Childrens Museum at Navy Pier

Tell Me a Story I DON’T Know!
NVAM Education workshops at the Chicago Childrens Museum at Navy Pier

The art in the National Veterans Art Museum collection showcases the memories, experiences and histories of our nation and the veterans who have served to protect it.  Each work of art shares the unique stories of the individual who made it and provides the opportunity to start a conversation resulting in a deeper, more meaningful learning experience. The art brings history to life through the eyes of those who lived it.  For our younger audiences, the museum is careful to select age appropriate art from our collection that allows children and their families access to understanding and exploration of veteran voices through art.

In March, NVAM was excited to have the opportunity to work with young artists and their families at the Chicago Children’s Museum.  The Tell Me a Story I DON’T Know!  workshops  invited museum visitors to share stories while creating a portrait of one another.  The workshop theme was inspired by the 100 Faces of War Experience and the process of meeting and speaking with each veteran the way Matt Mitchell did over the course of his 9 year project.

The Things I Carry: Natalia

This week, I was able to make the interesting realization that we are defined by the things we carry. We all carry different things, representing our differing personalities and likes. I ALWAYS carry a ton of paper with me just because I use so much of it throughout the day and for various assignments. Other times, I just like to jot down some thoughts on paper so that I can remember them or refer to them at a later time.

When I emptied my purse, the contents it carried included lots of loose change and coffee receipts. This is a representation of just how busy I am with my classes and other activities because I literally live off of caffeine every single day.

When my friend Ariana emptied her pockets I was able to see what she carried, which includes the following: An iPhone, headphones, a receipt, and a band pin. I was able to conclude that she loves music and that music is what defines her character.

The Things I Carry: Melissa

The object I chose was a grenade and it relates to the wallpaper on my phone of Luis Coronel because he is the bomb. I think the contents in my bag show that I don’t carry much and don’t need much to complete my day. The bag I looked at shows that the person is very organized because she had placed her objects in an organized way, for example all of her makeup was placed from largest to smallest. This lesson taught me that every teen is different. I got to see how the contents in our bag can define who we are.

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The Things I Carry: Quinn

My item was grenade I think it was very interesting how it had rust on it. It made me wonder how long it sat out after the time of explosion. The items at the NVAM are full of history and all have very interesting stories behind them and the process in making them. During my observation, two items that I felt were related were the grenade and my lighter because the lighter is used for fire but a lot less aggressive amount of fire and a much smaller amount of damage to the environment. When I looked around the room at my peers’ items I noticed people’s organization skills and I learned about their preferences in hygienic items.

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Veterans Arts On Air: Education Edition

In January, I was asked to be the guest on the NVAM CanTV show Veterans Arts On Air with host Melvin Lyons.  We spent the 20 minute show talking about the exciting work being made by NVAM Teen Council and upcoming events at the NVAM in 2015.   One of my favorite parts of the show takes place at minute marker 11:00 where I share a favorite experience meeting a veteran who is a part of the 100 Faces of War Experience Exhibition which opened on Veterans Day 2014 and is on display at the NVAM through May 2015. These interactions with the veterans and artists is part of what makes our museum unique and builds meaningful conversations about the role of art making in building community and intergenerational relationships between youth and veterans. Check it out!

PS– being on TV is exciting a fun– I highly recommend it!

 

Yesterday I was, Today I am

Yesterday I was, Today I am (YIWTIA) is a workshop created by the National Veterans Art Museum Education Team that invites participants to create a diptych (two-image) animated GIF (Graphic Interface Format) using Mozilla PopcornMaker to address a personal narrative: Yesterday I was _____, Today I am _____. YIWTIA GIFs are showcased together on NVAM Out Loud. Below is a collection of GIFs from the National Veteran Art Museum Collection, NVAM Teen Council, and other members of our community.

We invite you to create your own GIF using Mozilla PopcornMaker and tag #YIWTIA. You can even remix/respond to existing YIWTIA GIFs! Share the link of your Yesterday I was, Today I am creations in the comments below or e-mail the link to info@nvam.org.

UPDATE:
Aug 11, 2015:
Unfortunately, Mozilla has discontinued support for Popcorn Maker online. However Yesterday I was, Today I am continues as a part of NVAM’s educational curriculum using Photoshop to create GIFs!

Nov 22, 2014:
NVAM Teen Council led Yesterday I was, Today I am at Flagship: An Art Exhibition Created by the Students at LEARN Charter School” at the Great Lakes Naval Museum! The teens held the workshop for some of the coolest elementary school kids. Check the gallery for photos!

Nov 18, 2014:

NVAM Out Loud was invited to present Yesterday I was, Today I am at the C3 Student Clubs Summit mini-Maker Party at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Check out the YIWTIA GIFs below!

Oct 28, 2014:
NVAM Education is back at the National Veterans Art Museum and have uploaded the YIWTIA GIFs made during MozFest 2014 to the blog, check them out below!

Oct 24, 2014:
Second day in London and first day of MozFest 2014! NVAM Education will be presenting Yesterday I was, Today I am on Oct 25 with the Hive Maker Party! Check out how to participate in the Yesterday I was, Today I am workshop at here!

Oct 10, 2014:
The NVAM Education Team has been invited to represent 
Hive Chicago and presentYesterday I was, Today I am at MozFest 2014 in London, UK! While NVAM Education is presenting YIWTIA in London, NVAM Teen Council will be at Collect-O-Rama on October 25th presenting YIWTIA at a mini-Maker party hosted by Intuit: the Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art.

Check back October 23-27 for international updates!


 

How To Use Mozilla PopcornMaker to Make a YIWTIA GIF!connectedlearning_yiwtia

By Maurice Costello Served in Vietnam, U.S. Army 196th Light Infantry Brigade 1967-68
By Maurice Costello Served in Vietnam, U.S. Army 196th Light Infantry Brigade 1967-68

 

Christina L. Moving Collage

This art piece is made out of wooden blocks and a print out of the original artist's drawing.
This art piece is made out of wooden blocks and a print out of the original artist’s drawing hide.

The way I got inspiration to create this art piece is from laying on my bed one day checking my Tumblr, and I saw a picture of a women going up to her closet picking out a mask to wear. The reason why this particular picture gave me so much inspiration is because I realized that so many people hide their true emotions, and cover it up with the words “I’m fine” when in reality the person is not fine. In conclusion, this art piece represents the true emotions that each person try’s to hide.

Natalia S- Moving Collage

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Wooden blocks, edited photograph, dictionary pages, mod podge.

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I decided to use my own photograph of flowers and a typed Bible verse to describe something that’s important me and something I live by on a day to day basis. I used dictionary pages on the outer sides of the block to represent how important words are for me. I feel like society lives by words because we’re surrounded by them everywhere. I guess it all just depends on which words we choose to follow- everyone is different.

Keon C. Moving Collage

I created this piece to show how although there is violence in the world, there is still hope. This piece is to create a type of peace and although things may look bad now, if you really think hard and believe in yourself, it can come out right. I used this collage to make a message to everyone that the government isn’t as honest as they say they are and safe. But we, as individuals and as a group, need to come together to get through this, to unite as one and this where my collage comes from. You can see that the different parts all come together to form as a big whole this is what i am trying to get at.

 

Reflecting on war, art and history: London, 2014

Spending time in London has served as a poignant reminder of how war can create indelible marks on the landscape and collective memory of a country.  This year marks the 100 anniversary of the beginning of Britain’s involvement in the first World War. Through out the city there are monuments, art displays and other tributes to the soldiers who fought to defend Great Britain.  One of the most powerful is Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, an installation at the Tower of London where the ceramic artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper have installed 888,246 ceramic poppies within the Tower’s famous moat and pour over the castle walls. Each poppy represents a British military fatality during the war and serves as a massive visual reference to the tremendous loss of life during this conflict.  Each poppy has been sold to the public to raise millions of pounds to be divided among 6 UK charities that support veterans and military families.

Another powerful body of work was a collection of photographs revisiting sites of conflict from the first World War.  Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace  is an outdoor touring exhibition and educational resource center featuring 60 large scale photographs capturing the World War landscapes as they are today. “Based not on the horrors of war, but how time and nature can heal the most scarred battle landscape, the exhibition seeks to engage every community in the First World War commemorations, via an extensive tour of UK cities and town centers between 2014 and 2018,”  the duration of Britain’s involvement in the conflict. (Michael St Maur Sheil, artist).

Seeing these artworks reminded me how fortunate we are an Americans to have not seen a war fought within the United States since the Civil War and how art can be used to transform powerful narratives into lasting reminders of history and heroism.

 

-From Oct 22-27, NVAM education was honored to travel to London on behalf of Hive Chicago to represent NVAM at Mozfest