‘Courage and Strength:’ Honolulu Museum of Art exhibit reflects service member sacrifices

| November 22, 2012 | 0 Comments
Honolulu Museum of Art presents the contemporary photography exhibition "Courage and Strength: Portraits of Those Who Have Served," through Feb. 24. Five internationally acclaimed artists captured intimate looks at those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Photojournalist Tim Hetherington’s photographs (above) are intimate portraits taken over several months in 2007 and 2008, while he was embedded with American troops stationed in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley.  Hetherington’s work was also incorporated into a film documentary that was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. the war in Afghanistan. It was a conscious decision. My book comments on the experience of the soldier. It’s brotherhood...to see the men in an intimate way...To get to know them and how they lived.” Hetherington’s experience in Afghanistan also became the basis for the documentary Restrepo, which he co-directed with Sebastian Junger. The film was nominated for an Academy Award in 2011 for Best Documentary Feature and won the Grand Jury Prize for documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. in April 2011 while on assignment in Ajdabiya, Libya. (Photos courtesy Honolulu Museum of Art)

Honolulu Museum of Art presents the contemporary photography exhibition “Courage and Strength: Portraits of Those Who Have Served,” through Feb. 24. Five internationally acclaimed artists captured intimate looks at those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Photojournalist Tim Hetherington’s photographs (above) are intimate portraits taken over several months in 2007 and 2008, while he was embedded with American troops stationed in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. (Photos courtesy Honolulu Museum of Art)

Intimacy and emotions are captured with portraits of those who have served

Jack Wiers
U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs

HONOLULU — Combat has been graphically photographed since the beginning of the Civil War.

The “Courage and Strength,” photo exhibition, at the Honolulu Museum of Art, however, displays the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan through a different lens.

Five prominent photographers search for intimacy and feelings through images of Soldiers who have served in combat deployments during the past decade.

The Courage and Strength: Portraits of Those Who Have Served exhibit has photographs by Nina Berman, Ashley Gilbertson, Peter Hapak, Tim Hetherington and Suzanne Opton, at the Honolulu Museum of Art through Feb. 24. Free admission to all active duty ID holders and family members.

The Courage and Strength: Portraits of Those Who Have Served exhibit has photographs by Nina Berman, Ashley Gilbertson, Peter Hapak, Tim Hetherington and Suzanne Opton, at the Honolulu Museum of Art through Feb. 24. Free admission to all active duty ID holders and family members.

“The photographs on view do not depict the tension and horror of combat, but rather offer glimpses into the minds and hearts of service members in quiet moments during and after their tours of duty,” said exhibition curator James Jensen.

Museum officials sought the exhibition to develop closer ties to the Hawaii military community, but they wanted to connect in a way other than political.

“This is about people,” said Stephan Jost, Honolulu Museum of Art director.

Senior military leaders, including retired Gen. Dave Bramlett, were consulted as the exhibit was taking shape in an effort to ensure the exhibition resonated as “true” when service members came to view it, according to Jost.

“Impressive” was the immediate response from Sgt. lst Class Karry James, senior enlisted leader, Public Affairs Office, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command. “It brought up a lot of memories from deployments.”

The contemporary photography exhibition features work by Nina Berman, Ashley Gilbertson, Peter Hapak, Tim Hetherington, and Suzanne Opton, five internationally acclaimed artists.

Hetherington’s photographs were taken over several months in 2007 and 2008, when he was embedded with American troops stationed in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley.

“It’s all about the men,” Hetherington said, describing the images. My (images) comments on the experience of the Soldier. It’s brotherhood … to see the men in an intimate way … to get to know them and how they lived.”

Hetherington’s experience in Afghanistan also became the basis for the documentary “Restrepo,” which he co-directed. The film was nominated for an Academy Award in 2011 for Best Documentary Feature and won the Grand Jury Prize for documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

In April 2011, however, while on assignment in Ajdabiya, Libya, Hetherington was killed while chronicling the Libyan uprising.

The five artists employed a variety of strategies in their photography in an effort to shed inhibitions and also gain what was termed an honesty to the portraits.

“The subjects in the images have had as important a role in shaping the works as the photographers who took them,” Jensen said. “Their willingness to sit, lie down, stand and bare themselves heightens our attentiveness and leads the eye and mind to a deeper, richer place, where we might not otherwise linger.”

The exhibit also offers texts written by the featured service members, reflecting their feelings on the effects of war on both them and those involved in their lives. Jost came away from the viewing convinced of a common theme among the service members.

“What comes through is a deep love for the military — even from the severely injured,” said Jost.

“Courage and Strength” was specifically created to recognize service men and women, so the museum extends free admission for military personnel for the duration of the exhibition, through Feb. 24, 2013.

Honolulu Museum of Art

The Honolulu Museum of Art is a world-class art museum that presents international-caliber special exhibitions, in addition to offering collection of works ranging from Hokusai, van Gogh, Gauguin, Monet, Picasso and Warhol, as well as traditional Asian and Hawaiian art.

The Honolulu Museum of Art was formerly known as the Honolulu Academy of Art. In 2011, the Contemporary Museum gifted its assets and collection to the museum, and in 2012, the combined museum changed its name to the Honolulu Museum of Art.

Located in two of Honolulu’s most beautiful buildings, the museum includes two cafés and gardens, and hosts various films and concerts.

•Hours: Honolulu Museum of Art;
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sundays, 1-5 p.m.; closed Monday.

•Free days: First Wednesday of every month.

•Bank of Hawaii Family Sunday: Free to the public on the third Sunday of the month, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., courtesy of Bank of Hawaii.

•Café: lunch only, Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Visit www.honolulumuseum.org or call 532-8700.

(Editors note: The Honolulu Museum of Art contributed to portions of this article.)

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Category: Army Community Covenant, Community

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