Rutland Art Show Chronicles Iraq War
10/08/10 5:49PM By Nina Keck
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(Host) The Chaffee Art Center in Rutland is hosting a unique exhibit that chronicles the day to day toll of the war in Iraq - on gloves.
VPR's Nina Keck has this report.
(Keck) Gloves are not a typical canvas.
But Atlanta artist Cecelia Kane says she's fascinated by the way gloves evoke the hands that filled them.
Kane, who spent part of her childhood in Rutland, says when the first headline of the Iraq war appeared in her daily paper in March of 2003, she grabbed a cotton glove.
(Cane) "I took one of these archivist kind of white cotton gloves that I had. And I put the headline on the palm and dated the fingers and put a quick marker sketch on the palm below the headline."
(Keck) The next day, she did the same thing, and the next, and the next after that. Every day but Sunday Kane processed the headlines and news accounts of the war and boiled it down to an image on a glove.
(Kane) "I guess I was asking myself, ‘What is war about?'"
(Keck) By 2004 the small paintings that Kane painstakingly put on the white gloves became much more detailed, the colors more vibrant, with each finger tip painted blood red. Kane walks up to one glove dated January 31st, 2005.
(Kane) "I have a picture of an Iraqi woman giving a peace sign, where her two fingers are purple. The headline in the Journal Constitution was, ‘Iraqis vote and celebrate.' But then the very next day, ‘SPC Robert Hendrickson, 24, from Broken Bow, Oklahoma.' He was killed."
(Keck) By 2006, Kane was ready to stop. But other artists urged her to continue, since the war wasn't over, and they offered to help. Today, Kane's Hand to Hand project includes the work of 47 other artists from all over the world.
(Kane) "We've got glass and plaster and sound installations and embroidery. One fellow who's a Boeing wing engineer in Seattle, he made his gloves out of Kevlar. ... The last two gloves from August 30-31 of this year - the last two days were done by two Iraqi refugee sisters."
(Keck) Kane decided to end the project when President Obama began pulling out combat forces. She reaches up and straightens a glove from 2007. Having to think so much about the daily impact of a war, she says, did help her come to grips with it.
(Kane) "To me it's about suffering and stupidity and trying to solve problems in a bad way. That was my take on it at the end. But I also allowed all of the artists to honor the soldiers, say what they had to say, and make this a real community dialogue."
(Keck) Because talking and thinking about this war is important, she says. Because too many Americans aren't.
For VPR News, I'm Nina Keck in Rutland.
(Host) Cecelia Kane's "Hand to Hand" project is on display at Rutland's Chaffee Art Center.