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Observing a Decade Since the 9/11 Attacks; A Public Conversation
Sunday, September 11, 4-7pm; 4pm Performance of Contact, 5pm Reception and Conversation
Canal Gallery, 380 Dwight St., Holyoke MA
Contact Tickets $10-$15 at the Door, reception and conversation is free and open to the public.

"It is my feeling that people are drawn to wars culturally as much as, if not more than, politically; therefore, an understanding of how wars exist in human consciousness can only be reached through discourses that include cultural and creative expressions. Art, in all its forms, is the only way to access the most visceral human reactions to war."
- Tyler Boudreau, author "Packing Inferno: The Unmaking of a Marine"

"In trying to establish what the median experiences and what the wide ranging experiences are for Americans in these wars I have worked with Sociologist Dan Burland. This has produced some information that counters the popular depictions of war: The vast majority of Americans in serve in non combat roles. On·average 20% of the American military could be said to be serving in combat roles in Iraq and Afghanistan. That figure may swing between 10%-40%, depending on how you term combat and what part of the war you are looking at. Approximately 20% of deaths and medical evacuations from Iraq have been due to non combat incidents. During much of these conflicts the majority of forces deployed have been national guard and reserve troops, as compared to active duty military.·15-20% of forces deployed are female. At one time in these wars, non-citizen enlistments made up between 7% and 9% of forces deployed."
- Matt Mitchel, artist 100 Faces of War Experience

This interdisciplinary discussion moderated by Artists in Context will address the role that art and artists play in the commemoration of war and the new spaces that are being created for citizens, veterans and soldiers to traverse the complicated territory of war and its implications for society. Michael Anthony, a Bridgewater, MA native who has written a memoir of his time as a medic in Iraq, says it best - it’s about cause and effect - people tend to remember one and forget the other. (Read more here)

The panel will include artists Matt Mitchell, Krista DeNio, and Susan Oetgen ; Carole Anne Meehan, founder·of Art at Main and a public art curator; Blake J. Ruehrwein, an Air Force veteran from Bridgewater, MA.; Tyler Boudreau, author and veteran of the war in Iraq; Nicholas Chavez, alumnus of Holyoke Community College and UMASS and sailor in the US Navy; and Dave Raymond, Director of Business Development at a Cambridge MA-based healthcare IT startup. View the full bio of each participant here.

Contact performanceThe conversation will occur after a performance of Contact, an interactive performance installation created in collaboration with Matt Mitchell’s 100 Faces of War Experience. Directed by Krista DeNio, Contact includes performances by veteran and civilian performers. Mitchell's work, having already laid the groundwork for an evolving dialogue space between viewers and the portraits of veterans, becomes a powerful space for live action. The interactive performance space begs the question: How do we see one another, directly and indirectly? This interactive performance is an effort to create a dialogue in which veterans and civilians can engage with one another in a conversation, acknowledging both what we have in common and what we don’t.

Contact Performance Information: 415-994-6196
September 10, 16, 17, 7:00 p.m.
* Sunday September 11 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. -- Performance, Reception, Public Conversation: moderated by Artists in Context
Sunday September 18, 4:00 p.m.

100 Faces of War Experience: Portraits and Words of Americans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan·started in 2005 with the portrait of Marine Jeff Lucey of Belchertown, MA, who committed suicide after his service in the Iraq war, 100 Faces of War Experience, is an open contemplation of the American experience of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, mixing traditional portrait painting with ideas of installation art, a sociological approach and participant generated content. Many Western MA, people who have gone to Iraq or Afghanistan are pictured. The exhibition can be seen online at

The Public Conversation moderated by AIC is part of a series of “Observing a Decade” exhibits and performances at the Canal Gallery. Several of these artists will be part of the Public Conversation.

Current related programming at the Canal Gallery:

Continuum, a Tragedy in Many Acts
: Mixed media ceramic installation by Harriet Diamond
“This show is the accumulation of 10 years of my artwork chronicling and protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. My work tells our common story. It is the story of families losing their children. It is the story of young recruits taking on a soldier’s identity. It is the story of all of human history and our terrible march to war.”

Breaking News 9/11/01-9/11/02 “Looking Again 10 Years Later
·by Mary Bernstein
From September 11, 2001 to September 11, 2002, I collected and collaged news headlines and photos weekly, creating 53 panels that comprise the document “Breaking News.” By combining headlines and news photos with a journal and a weekly image, I documented the details of unfolding events, juxtaposing them with my personal experience. On the flip side of each panel I made a “painting of the week” as a complementary way to reflect my experience.

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