War is Trauma: Portfolio Release
Today, nine years after US launched the war in Iraq on March 19, 2003, Iraq Veterans Against the War and Justseeds are proud to release War is Trauma: a portfolio that highlights the unseen traumas of war. We invite everyone to go to the new War is Trauma webpage, download, print, and post these graphics everywhere and anywhere to help highlight the too often hidden psychological tolls on the Iraqi people, veterans, our society, and our planet.
When all is said and done, the war in Iraq will cost the American people over 4 trillion dollars. However, the financial costs mean little compared to human costs. The Iraq War has claimed the lives of 4,485 US service members and over 113,000 Iraqi civilians. Countless more Iraqis and veterans have survived the war, but live with physical and physiological wounds.
In the midst of a suicide epidemic amongst service members and veterans (at least 468 service members from all military branches died by suicide in 2010), this portfolio specifically highlights the unseen toll of war on service members. With many service members serving multiple tours of duty the military trauma crisis continues to grow. Here are just some of the statistics highlighted in this portfolio:
- The military suicide rate has increased 150% from 2001 to 2009.
- 20% to 50% of all service members deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD.
- A third of soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan say they can't see a mental health professional when they need to.
- Nearly 20% of service members are taking some type of psychiatric drug.
- The number of US troops injured by roadside bombs in Afghanistan increased by 178% from 2009-2010.
- 1 in 3 women are raped while serving in the military and 48% of reported cases of rapes are by male survivors
Thought the US has withdrawn troops from Iraq, the war continues through a privatization of the military. For-profit military contractors continue to occupy Iraq and the US maintains military bases in Iraq. The war drum to attack Iran grows louder. In the US, the culture of militarism continues unabated, as does the economic dependency on the military-industrial complex for many communities that surround military bases. In short, we live in a perpetual state of war when the US continues to spend over 50% of all tax money on senseless military budgets. In this climate, violence, state power, and corporate dominance thrives while education, health care, public services and the environment suffers.
It is in this context that we release the War is Trauma portfolio as an urgent call to support the veterans and service members movement for human rights and to end the ongoing wars and occupations. Justseeds and IVAW are proud to collaborate together to build a creative movement that supports the Operation Recovery campaign - a campaign that was launched by IVAW on October 7, 2010 to end the deployment of traumatized troops and win service members and veterans right to heal.
Collaboration with IVAW is not new to Justseeds. In November of 2010, Justseeds did a street art action in Chicago wherein various prints (some of which are included in this portfolio) were wheatpasted on outdoor ad spaces throughout the city. This action was followed by the “Operation Recovery” booklet - designed by Josh MacPhee - and part of the Printed Matter "Artist and Activist" series. Other collaborations include a Temporary Conversations booklet (an interview with Aaron Hughes by Nicolas Lampert), various graphics used on IVAW t-shirts, countless exhibitions, and our current and most ambitious collaboration, the "War is Trauma" portfolio.
The portfolio itself consists of 34 prints from artists in Justseeds, IVAW, as well as five ally artists/artist collectives that we greatly admire. Images in the portfolio address a range of topics and advocate for stopping the redeployment of traumatized soldiers, the GI’s right to heal, supporting past and present GI resistance, challenging the culture of militarism in the US, and ending the wars abroad.
The prints themselves are housed within a handmade paper cover from the Combat Paper Project (CPP)– paper whose source material derives from military uniforms that veterans have cut into small piece, mixed with water, and pulped into paper as part of the healing process. Drew Cameron of the CPP writes, “The batch that I made for the portfolio is mostly created from Army Combat Uniforms that were worn by the Stryker battalions out of Fort Lewis, WA. These are the same guys who rolled out of Iraq early back in July 2010. I also added Egyptian cotton to strengthen it. I like to imagine that the mill workers who made the cloth I used were the same one’s rising up last spring.”
Justseeds artists include: Josh MacPhee (Brooklyn), Mary Tremonte (Pittsburgh), Kevin Caplicki (Brooklyn), Chris Stain (Queens), Thea Gahr (Portland, OR), Bec Young (Pittsburgh), Erik Ruin (Providence), Pete Yahnke Railand (Milwaukee), Alec Dunn (Portland, OR), Colin Matthes (Milwaukee), Nicolas Lampert (Milwaukee), Jesse Purcell (Montreal), Roger Peet (Portland, OR), Molly Fair (Brooklyn), Santiago Armengod (Mexico City), Shaun Slifer (Pittsburg), Dylan AT Miner (E. Lansing)
IVAW Members include: Drew Cameron (Army Veteran, Vermont), Joyce Wagner (Marine Veteran, Pittsburgh), Aaron Hughes (IL Army National Guard Veteran, Chicago), Jeremy Bergren (Marine Veteran, North Carolina), Peter Sullivan (IL Army National Guard Veteran, Chicago), Chris Arendt (MI Army National Guard Veteran, Michigan), Malachi Muncy (TX Army National Guard Veteran, Texas), Ash Kyrie (WI Army National Guard Veteran, Wisconsin), and posters from the Bay Area Civilian Soldier Alliance members Siri Margerin and Nave Fortin.
Allied artists include: Michael Rakowitz (Chicago), Marshall Weber (Booklyn Artists Alliance, Brooklyn), Dan S. Wang (Madison, WI), Harrell Fletcher and Transformazium with Brettiny Hucks, Gayla Jean Clemons, Deon Archie, Deshon LeGrand (Portland, OR / Braddock, PA), Temporary Services (Chicago, Philadelphia, Copenhagen)
Overall, War is Trauma is limited to 130 portfolios. The majority of these went to IVAW and the artists so the Justseeds store has around 20-25 to sell. Meaning: these copies may not last long. Booklyn and IVAW also have some copies to sell, so please also check their websites.
Much appreciation is directed towards Booklyn - the incredible artists-run, non-profit, organization that specializes in artist/activist archives, limited edition and unique artists books, and works on paper. Booklyn was instrumental in making sure this project got off the ground. Marshall Weber and Co. helped support the portfolio project by selling a dozen portfolios (which included an additional drawing by Aaron Hughes) to various archives that in turn provided the funds for this project. We thank all the archives that purchased a sponsor copy and we thank Booklyn and ask fans of Justseeds to support all the work that they do.
Justseeds also thanks the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern University. During the Fall 2011 trimester, Nicolas Lampert of Justseeds received the Jean Gimbel Lane Artist in Residence at the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities. The residency provided a budget and studio space for Lampert to help co-organize the portfolio project with IVAW member Aaron Hughes. The budget also allowed Justseeds member Jesse Purcell to print 5000 copies of the images by Aaron Hughes, Kevin Caplicki, Erik Ruin, Purcell, and Lampert to be disseminated for free around the US and beyond. Many thanks to Michael Rakowitz, Holly Clayson, Tom Popelka, and all at the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities and the Dept of Art Theory and Practice for supporting this project.
We also thank Drew Cameron for providing the best cover possible for the portfolio - combat paper - and we thank Dan S. Wang for printing the letter press text on the covers. Thank you also to Paul Kjelland for helping out with numerous aspects of the project in Milwaukee. Thank you also to Jessica S. Meuninck Ganger for always making the UWM print studio a home away from home. Many others deserve our thanks - a list too long to name and a list that will inevitably leave out important contributors. This portfolio is truly a collaborative effort of 100-plus people and institutions from Justseeds, IVAW, Booklyn, and beyond.
Now that we have these 130 portfolios, let's stage 130 exhibitions to bring these posters and messages to our communities. Let's continue to support GI resistance and the activist campaigns to end the occupations and the culture of militarism.