|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Monday, October 14, 2019
|Ex-president Bush's paintings tell of toll on those he sent to war|
People look at "Portraits of Courage" a collection of 66 paintings made by former US President George W. Bush that pay tribute to US military veterans exhibited at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC on October 7, 2019. Olivier Douliery / AFP.
by W.G. Dunlop
WASHINGTON (AFP).- In some paintings, the wounds are plain to see: an arm or leg lost to war. In others, the injuries that US veterans suffered are hidden from view.
But all of the works by former president George W. Bush -- painted as a tribute to the men and women he sent to war -- reflect the human toll of his decisions as commander-in-chief.
Command Sergeant Major Brian Flom was wounded in the face by a rocket attack in Iraq in 2007.
"That was the easy part," he told AFP, standing beside a painting in which he appears with fellow military personnel, one of dozens of works on display at Washington's Kennedy Center.
"The challenging part was the TBI (traumatic brain injury) and the post-traumatic stress that accompanied a lot of time spent in a combat zone."
Recovery is "still going on -- it's an everyday process, right, and some days are better than others."
Flom was selected to go on a mountain bike ride with Bush in 2015, and has now met him "many times," including dinner at the former president's house.
Bush "decided one day to paint people that he had a connection with and meant something to him, and here I am."
"It's a huge honor," Flom said.
Bush ordered the American military into Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001 attacks and launched the invasion of Iraq to topple dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.
More than 3,500 American military personnel have been killed and more than 32,000 wounded in hostile action in Iraq, while combat in Afghanistan -- a war that turned 18 on Monday -- has left nearly 2,000 dead and more than 20,500 wounded.
Bush took up painting after leaving office in early 2009, and has sought to help veterans who served in the wars that defined his presidency.
"I painted these men and women as a way to honor their service to the country and to show my respect for their sacrifice and courage," Bush said in a quote featured at the exhibition, which is titled "Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief's Tribute to America's Warriors."
'Wish it was different'
"Everybody that was painted... has participated in one of two events that the president hosts every year with wounded veterans and their families" -- a bike ride and a golf tournament -- said former US Army sergeant first class Michael Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, who is pictured in a standalone portrait by Bush, deployed nine times during his 21 years in the military and was wounded several times, "mainly traumatic brain injuries" from bomb blasts.
He met Bush during a mountain bike ride in 2014, and was later selected for an advisory council on how to better serve post-9/11 veterans and their families, getting to know him personally.
Rodriguez said he has no anger toward Bush over the injuries he sustained.
"During my 21 years of service, I worked for four different presidents. I would never assume to... be that arrogant to think I... had all the information to make the decisions they made," he said.
He has "never, ever been upset at any of our presidents."
Former US army sergeant DeWitt Osborne is another veteran painted by Bush, like Flom appearing in a montage of military personnel.
He was wounded by a bomb blast near Baghdad in 2006 that injured his right shoulder, right foot, fractured vertebrae and caused traumatic brain injury as well as post-traumatic stress.
He underwent 21 surgeries, spending four years recovering at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Osborne said he still follows events in Iraq, where the US withdrawal was followed by a rise in violence, a jihadist takeover of swathes of the country and years of battles to push the militants back.
Protests have recently erupted in which more than 100 people have been killed over a week.
"It's a shame," Osborne said of events there, expressing hope that things get better. "We as a country (have) shed a lot of blood and tears and work over there."
"I wish it was different."
© Agence France-Presse
October 10, 2019
Schantz Galleries exhibits a collection of Bertil Vallien's glass sculptures
With a $450 million expansion, MoMA is bigger. Is that better?
Online map leads archaeologist to Maya discovery
Monet's 'Charing Cross Bridge' to lead sale at Sotheby's New York
Christie's results: The Alfred Cortot Collection and the Book sales realised a combined total of €2.5 million
Rehs Contemporary now representing Mitsuru Watanabe
National Gallery to lend its Crivelli masterpieces to Birmingham's Ikon Gallery for award-winning exhibition
Napoleon Chagnon, 81, controversial anthropologist, is dead
First ever travel guide to go on rare public display at the British Museum this week
Beck & Eggeling opens an exhibition of works by Edvard Munch, Emil Nolde and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Beverly Watkins, fiery Blues guitarist, is dead at 80
Ex-president Bush's paintings tell of toll on those he sent to war
Installation of outdoor sculpture delayed by Medieval graves discovery
Honolulu Museum of Art opens an exhibition of contemporary landscapes by Li Huayi
The Shed opens the most comprehensive retrospective exhibition to date of the work of Agnes Denes
Sworders to offer works by two respected Suffolk artists
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago opens a solo exhibition of the artist Mika Rottenberg
Six important works by Dia Azzawi offered at Bonhams Modern & Contemporary Middle Eastern Art sale
The founder of one of the largest prison arts programs in the world dies at 80
Exhibition explores development of Abstract art through the work of black artists
The complete series of The Prophecy makes U.S. debut at the Chazen
Phoenix Art Museum announces new interim curator of fashion design
Frieze London 2019: Most international edition to date closes with outstanding sales and critical acclaim
Single-owner, Civil War rarities collection features finest period photographs ever offered at one time
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Old lady discovers Renaissance masterpiece in her kitchen
2.- Clark Art Institute announces online open access to more than 2,700 works in its permanent collection
3.- Vincent van Gogh's inner circle explored in new exhibition in the artist's homeland
4.- Four ultra low mileage and one-owner treasures to be oofered at H&H Classics
5.- Classic Frank Frazetta painting offered for first time in Heritage Auctions' Illustration Art Auction
6.- Urban Culture Auctions to host Sept. 26 sale of works by "Bruce of Los Angeles"
7.- Sotheby's presents rare 17th century Mexican 'biombo' folding screen in online sale
8.- The exhibition "Inspiration Matisse" opens at Kunsthalle Mannheim
9.- Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, acquires rediscovered Delacroix
10.- Bonhams NY Jewels sale led by a rare blue diamond ring by Van Cleef & Arpels
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.