Arts and Culture / News

Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are focus of art exhibit

Former Satellite Communications Specialist Aaron Grehan. By Jennifer Karady

Bringing to life the trauma soldiers experience at war isn’t easy, but it’s what fine art photographer Jennifer Karady has done in her exhibition In Country: Soldier’s Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan.

For the project, Karady interviewed American soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Karady asked each veteran to re-enact a moment he or she experienced during war — this time surrounded by supportive friends and family members in a safe environment.

While other photographers often use actors to dramatize narratives, Karady used veterans to stage the stories. In the process, she was able to capture the psychological impacts of war, including the nightmares veterans experience after returning home and their difficulties adjusting to regular life.

“This [trauma] is replaying visually in the person’s head, and we really have no idea what is going on,” Karady said in a New York Times interview from May 5, 2010. “But the idea, conceptually, of taking that moment and re-contextualizing and placing it in the civilian world, is based on a therapeutic model.”

In Country features a dozen 48-square-inch color photographs along with snippets of the veterans’ stories, written in their own words. Karady started the project in July 2006 and has produced photographs with war veterans from across the United States.

A nonprofit photography organization — SF Camerawork — developed Karady’s current exhibition and supported her month-long residency in 2010.

DU’s Myhren Gallery is seeking partners and funds to support a Denver residency for Karady so she can collaborate with war veterans from Colorado to create new art pieces for future exhibits.

For more information about Karady, visit

The Myhren Gallery is open from noon­–4 p.m. daily and is located in the Shwayder Art Building. The exhibit runs through May 1.

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