20 January 2014

In Eastern Iowa, Two Exhibits Explore Military Themes

Two current art exhibits in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, present a mix of difficult and challenging images related to military service.

Dan Eldon's "Touching Hands"
The first, an exhibit of the photojournalism of Dan Eldon, depicts the U.S. military in 1990s Somalia, along with scenes of poverty, starvation, and violence. The 23-year-old Eldon was one of four journalists stoned to death by a Somali mob, shortly before the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu. That battle was later depicted in both the book and movie "Blackhawk Down."

Eldon's multimedia journals have themselves been talked about as potential feature-film material.

The Eldon photos are part of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art's' ongoing series "The Restless Nation: American Art from the Collection." Alongside artwork on themes of "The Nation Votes" and the "The Nation Settles," Eldon's work explores a theme of "The Nation Wars." Approximately 20 photos are presented.

Photo: Survivors Empowered Through Art, Inc.
The second Cedar Rapids exhibit opened this week at the recently renovated Veterans Memorial Building. There, a Wisconsin-based organization called Survivors Empowered Through Art (SETA) presents a collection of artwork related to sexual assault in the military.

Featured in the exhibit is "Stepping Stones," a path of internally lit glass blocks, on which are illuminated the words and works of survivors of Military Sexual Trauma.

“Our art shows both the struggles of being sexual assault survivors and the journey to healing,” SETA founder Rachel Beauchene recently told the LaCrosse (Wis.) Tribune. “We hope to raise awareness about the epidemic of sexual assault in the military as well as the long-term effects of sexual trauma."

“The art encourages viewers to see sexual assault through a different perspective,” she said.

For more information about the life and work of Dan Eldon, including some on-line photographs, visit here.

For more information about SETA, visit the website here. A Facebook page is here.

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