War Is Trauma is a portfolio of handmade prints produced by the Justseeds Artists' Cooperative in collaboration with the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). This portfolio transpired out of a street poster project, from November 2010, which a number of Justseeds artists provided graphics for "Operation Recovery" - a campaign to stop the deployment of traumatized troops and win service members and veterans right to heal. Posters were pasted in public, replacing many corporate advertisements, to focus public attention towards the issues not being discussed - GI Resistance, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), sexual assault in the military or Military Sexual Trauma (MST), and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The action led to another collaboration between Justseeds and IVAW - an “Operation Recovery” booklet published by Printed Matter in NYC and currently the War is Trauma portfolio. For this project over 30 artists from Justseeds, IVAW, and our allies have each created a print that addresses “Operation Recovery,” its larger goals of supporting service member and veterans right to heal, GI resistance, challenging the culture of militarism in the US, and ending the war in Afghanistan. A total of 130 portfolios have been created that we hope inspire 130 exhibitions that can act as a starting point to bring different people together – veterans, civilians, Iraqis, Afghans, and others to dialogue on issues.
The prints are housed within a handmade paper cover from the Combat Paper Project – 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 we were worn with 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, a decentralized artist collective consisting of 26 printmakers in the US, Canada, and Mexico
Booklyn, an artists-run, non-profit, organization that specializes in providing educational institutions: artist/activist archives, limited edition and unique artists books, and works on paper. Booklyn also focuses on providing resources and alternative distribution networks for innovative, sustainable and socially conscious art projects.
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Iraq Veterans Against the War is open to Active Duty, National Guard and Reservists who have served since 09/11/2001.