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Not About Bombs features five Iraqi Women Using Art to Address Nationality and Conflict, Expectation and Representation

CHICAGO, IL – Marking the 10th-year anniversary of the War in Iraq and in honor of International Women’s Day, the National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM) is proud to open an exciting new exhibition of art by five female Iraqi artists. Curated by Tricia Khutoretsky, Not About Bombs addresses how a female perspective can fit into the modern context of turmoil and conflict through art and avoid falling into the typical ways that women are represented and misrepresented.

The NVAM will be free and open to the public from 1 PM – 5 PM on Saturday, March 9, 2013 with a keynote at 3 p.m. and a panel discussion at 4 p.m.

The women in this exhibit contribute art that is visually and conceptually accomplished, but unpredictable and emotionally engaging. Because if anything, as a long, drawn-out, mind-numbing war comes to a “close,” emotional investments in Iraq are few and far between.

This exhibit will not be what you expect. It is about war. It is about Iraq. But it presents contemporary art by Iraqi women to deliberately explore and challenge expectations.

Panel discussion – Not About Bombs: Art and Identity Beyond Conflict: This panel discussion among five women aims to unpack the binary of ally/enemy, self/other — a universal wartime strategy. The conversation will explore the power of contemporary art by Iraqi women artists to both clarify and complicate the identity of the “other,” whether in or beyond conflict, and attempt to expand the discourse of identity and war beyond the constraints of popular media.

The show will be open to the public from Saturday, March 9, 2013 through September 2013.

Saturday, March 9, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. CST will feature Curator Tricia Khutoretsky, veteran artist Erica Slone, Executive Director Levi Moore, and Creative Director Ted Stanuga. Opening Reception is 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. CST on Saturday, March 9, 2013. Keynote address at 3 p.m., Panel discussion at 4 p,m,

All events will be held at the National Veterans Art Museum, 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue, in Chicago.

The show’s opening is timed to coincide with the yearly celebration of International Women’s Day. Annually on March 8, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. All around the world, women are connected by activities ranging from business conferences and networking events to local women’s craft markets and theatric performances. The exhibit also highlights National Women’s History Month.

In addition, 2013 marks the 10-year anniversary of the war in Iraq, and citizens of Iraq and America alike are still working through the ramifications of this conflict.

According to Art Committee co-chair Ash Kyrie, the National Veterans Art Museum is proud to present Not About Bombs to coincide with International Women’s Day and National Women’s History month. However, Kyrie adds, “Not About Bombs is not just about gender. Featuring art by five female Iraqi artists, Not About Bombs also raises questions of nationality, conflict, art, expectation and representation.”

According to Erica Slone, Not About Bombs is important because it gives viewers a way to discuss war in a more inclusive and expansive way and to show how war affects people who are not combatants.

Slone states, “Part of the project in bringing Not About Bombs to the National Veterans Art Museum is the effort to recontextualize modern narratives of war and of war participants. This exhibit insists that viewers broaden their perspective of war and the costs of war. The artists in this show are Iraqi women dealing with questions of identity and representations amid anti-Islam rhetoric and conflict. By using their unique positions as Iraqis, as women, as survivors of war, and as artists, they are pushing the discourse of war beyond conventional expectations.”

Slone also notes the provocative direction of the art in the exhibition, adding, “The art in this show pushes war art in new directions, finds new metaphors to reach arts patrons, and expands the visual vocabulary of war beyond grenades, guns and other weapons. Simply put, this show is not about bombs. It’s about art and the way art can be a catalyst for bigger discussions, and how art can operate to bridge cultural misunderstandings and misrepresentations.”

Executive Director Levi Moore celebrated Erica Slone’s return to the NVAM as coordinator of Not About Bombs. Slone previously exhibited in and curated last year’s all-female exhibition Overlooked / Looked Over. Moore states, “We are pleased to have Erica Slone facilitate the exhibition and panel discussion for Not About Bombs and to help us honor International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. Erica’s investment in broadening the dialogue over war and the costs of war—especially as they relate to identity questions of all kinds–are a rich contribution to the museum’s mission.”

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