Online Exhibit: The NVAM honors Black History Month

Wow!  You have to check out this custom online gallery exhibit featuring these amazing Artists.

Black Americans have served in every war in U.S. history – even before being fully recognized as citizens. This online exhibit includes some of the work by and thoughts from black artists that has been shown at the NVAM, and will hopefully provide insights into the experience of black veterans from Vietnam to modern conflicts in the Middle East.

William Myles

Served in Vietnam: 1964-65

“I grew up on the South Side of Chicago with three brothers and two sisters. My mother instilled in us that you must be a responsible person and at the same time be independent and that the only thing that you have that is of some value that can never be taken from you is your education and your word.”

Frankie Howery

Served in Vietnam: 1966-67

“I started drawing on the envelopes of letters home on the way over to Vietnam, or just before I left Stateside. I drew the pictures to amuse myself and pass the time, to illustrate the topics of my letters, and to convince my family not to worry about me by injecting some humor into the overall situation. I wanted also to make up a scrapbook of my experiences in country.”

Cleveland Wright

Served in Vietnam: 1968-69

“This [art] work was not done by the congressman riding to work in his chauffeur-driven limousine, reading the Washington Post, nor was it done by the anchorman on the six o’clock news, but by the man who pulled the trigger on the M-16, dropped the bombs, and threw the hand grenades. This is the war by those who fought it.”

Kimo Williams

Served in Vietnam: 1970-71

“In Vietnam, we seldom talked about our feelings or about the war; conversations were limited. Music and photography were my forms of expression, then as now… I use both music and photography to try to capture events and relate them to emotions and feelings. With photography in Vietnam, I wanted theta viewer to question the relationship between the actual subject of the photograph and the environment the subject was photographed in.”

Ulysses Marshall

Served in Vietnam: 1965-66

“After I got home and began to paint, I wrote about the war as I had experienced it through the eyes of a nineteen-year-old black man: Vietnam is a painter’s illusion, a nightmare; a dream without an ending, forcing upon young men and women death and destruction. Vietnam is a black man screaming in a strange world, fighting for a freedom he is yet to have. Vietnam is a loss of dignity, identity, and pride. It becomes a struggle from within – from the hunting of human lives. Vietnam is America, for in America black men continue to lose their lives. Bang!

Farris J Parker

Served in Vietnam: 1970-71

“I began working on paintings relating to my time in Vietnam out of a desire to project flashbacks into images. I wanted also to share my experiences with others. The influences on my work are both political and personal: as an artist, a black American, and a Vietnam veteran I naturally have been concerned with these issues. When the question is asked, What did you do in Vietnam? my response is: There it is; look at it; check it out; the art speaks for itself, and for us.”

Charles Smith

Served in Vietnam: 1966-68

“Only God and art combined can change lives of people, and those are the only two things I believe in.”

Ray Burns

Served in Vietnam: 1965-66

From a letter, 1966: “My little Kodak has caught the only permanent thing this place has besides the smell: the stare in the eyes of the living and the dead. Those stares and the smell: they will stay with me when the Nam is only a TV documentary.”

Iris Feliciano

Served in OEF: 2002

“I am not African American. I am a Hispanic immigrant. This distinction is very important to me and my family. Black History Month in this country celebrates the achievements of black Americans–I am now an American citizen and a black Latina.”

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“So much of my identity was based on rank and status in the military. After living out of uniform for a few years, I began to feel unknowable even to myself. But this vulnerability allowed me to begin to see who I was outside the context of symbols without assuming defeat.”

Melvin Lyons

Served in Iraq: 2003

“When you come out of high school uncertain about what it is you want to do, recruiters will see that as a weakness and will pounce on that. You join the military with these great hopes and expectations of life outside the military–there’s a great possibility that you could wind up losing your life because of it. So Evolution of War basically became snapshots of the life of someone going into the military.”

If you enjoyed the online exhibit, please consider:

This amazing Online Exhibit framework was created by Dan FitzGerald

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One thought on “Online Exhibit: The NVAM honors Black History Month

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