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” – the IVAW campaign meant to stop the redeployment of traumatized soldiers. 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 of women in the military, 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 print portfolio. For this project over 30 artists from Justseeds, IVAW, and their allies have each created a print that addresses “Operation Recovery,” its larger goals of supporting GI resistance, a GI’s right to heal, challenging the culture of militarism in the US, and ending the wars overseas and the economic war at home. A total of 130 portfolios have been created, that equals 130 exhibitions as a starting point. Exhibitions that bring different people together – veterans, civilians, refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan, and others to dialogue on issues that matter.
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.”
War is Trauma features prints by: (Justseeds) Josh MacPhee (Brooklyn), Mary Tremonte (Pittsburgh), Kevin Caplicki (Brooklyn), Chris Stain (Queens), Thea Gahr (Portland, OR), Bec Young (Pittsburgh), Erik Ruin (Philadelphia), Pete Yahnke (Albuquerque), 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) 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.
(Allies) Michael Rakowitz (Chicago), Marshall Weber (Booklyn Artists Alliance, Brooklyn, NY), 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)
War is Trauma is co-sponsored by the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative (a decentralized artist collective consisting of 26 printmakers in the US, Canada, and Mexico), Iraq Veterans Against the War (a veterans organization that has over 61 active chapters, including six on military bases, and a membership of over 1,700 veterans and active duty service members across the US, Canada, Europe, and Iraq), and 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.)
Nicolas Lampert (Justseeds) and Aaron Hughes (IVAW) served as project coordinators for War is Trauma. Lampert received support from Northwestern University as the Fall 2011 Jean Gimbel Lane Artist in Residence of the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities.