Exhibit features art by disabled veterans

July 3, 2011 9:54:25 AM PDT
A national touring exhibition featuring artworks of veterans with disabilities and physicians is in Chicago.

"Wounded in Action: An Art Exhibition of Orthopedic Advancements" explores complex feelings towards physical injuries from different wars, starting with Vietnam to the current battles in the Middle East.

At the Chicago Cultural Center, more than 100 different pieces of art from 77 artists around the country are part of this juried exhibition organized by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Kayee Ip is the media relations specialist.

"We wanted to honor the military men and women who served our country in wars, and two, to really highlight the technological advances in orthopedic trauma research, and unfortunately, a lot of the advances in orthopedic medicine happen on the field in wars," Ip said.

"Boots of a Fallen Soldier" paintings are by Chicago area orthopedic surgeon Dr. Matthew Jimenez.

"You know, like a comfortable pair of shoes, you always have those boots. I was thinking if only the boots could speak. What would they say about this soldier and what would they tell the family. What would they tell the world," Jimenez said.

Jimenez has worked with a number of veterans.

"What I see in my patients is what they have physical impairments from the war but they also have significant mental challenges that they're working through," Jimenez said. "This exhibit is very important because it pays tribute to an artistic perspective of our men and women in the armed services and their families and orthopedic surgeons who treat them."

Marine Sgt. Kevin Cavanaugh works at the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. He was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq. Although he didn't become physically disabled, he explains his experiences "March 2003."

"My painting is just a vision I had of when we crossed the border into Iraq. War is a very chaotic experience and I try to capture that into the painting. I also see things from a color stand point a very simple way if you will and alto of colors that are in the painting are things that I saw," Cavanaugh said.

There's much to see and learn from this exhibit through paintings, photography and sculptures.

"Every artwork has a story and I think one of the things that was summarized about the show was from a military orthopedic surgeon. He said this exhibit really summarizes why they serve -- it's to help treat those military men and women who have been injured in the way," Ip said.

"Wounded in Action" will be at Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., until August 31. Admission is free.

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