An exhibition of artists’ reactions to wars–all wars–is on view in the small but beautiful gallery at the Nick Salazar Center for the Arts, Northern New Mexico College in Española. The show’s presence in that historic town north of Santa Fe and south of Taos reflects the high toll wars have on small communities all across the nation.  Proportionately, the losses and the survivors’ stories of suffering hit these small communities harder. Nearly half the soldiers who fought the Iraq War, for example, came from communities (like Española) with populations under 25,000 (NPR “Morning Edition Feb. 20, 2007)

“After War: How War Affects Community” is curated by Sabra Moore as part of a series of exhibitions entitled “Visible Confluences. Moore wanted to include the notion of “all wars,” despite the show’s small size. Films by Cynthia Jeanette Gomez, David Lindblom, and Daniel Valerio express the experiences of the descendants of Genizaros (Native American slaves who often won their freedom fighting on the frontier). Julie Wagner shows a 60-year-old Japanese album full of ink drawings referencing aftermath of Hiroshima, and replicas of those drawings.

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Julie Wagner, “Pines by the River” (book, 2006) and “Survivors” (ink drawings on the wall, 2018).

Margaret Randell’s photos show citizens visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. to find the names of those lost, and Nicolas Herrara paints about military experiences during the Iraq War. Moore herself shows multivalent works in the form of houses or boxes that tell stories. Norma Navarro weaves fiber art to convey the tearing apart and reweaving of communities. And Dana Chodzko shows twisted branches that poetically express the effects of PTSD, the result of any war.

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Sabra Moore, Roger Mignon (far right) and one other stand in front of Moore’s “Story Scrolls House” (2018); Margaret Randall’s photos of the Vietnam War Memorial (1985) on wall.

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NNMC Gallery view showing Moore’s “How Do We Get Out of the Box” (front: cedar poles and mixed media, 2005); on wall: Nicolas Herrera’s “The Eye of the World” (2003) and Dana Chodzko’s wall sculptures made of roots and branches.

The exhibition went up August 24 and can be viewed through September 21, 2018.

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