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Three Exhibits at PS 118 including FROM FALLUJAH: How Can We Know A Place?

October 15


Third Friday hours: 12-9 p.m.

F R O M   F A L L U J A H : H ow Can We Know A Place?
Group exhibit featuring the work of four Iraqi photographers: Mohamed Alani, Sura Abbis Jasim, Mohamed Jamil, and Harith Kaleel Ali.
Curated by John Bechtold
October 1 – November 6, 2021
Reception: Saturday, October 9; 3–6pm
* with guest scholar Noor Ghazi giving a free public talk at 4:00.

Curator Talk: Thursday, October 21; 7:00pm
Guest curator, photographer, 21 year Army veteran, and UNC-Chapel Hill American Studies PhD candidate, John Bechtold will talk about war in public memory and some of the curatorial choices which informed this visual project.

Curated by retired U.S. Army veteran John Bechtold who served in Iraq twice, this exhibit proceeds from the idea that the best way to learn about a place is through the people who live there.

Fallujah is remembered as an Iraq War battlefield in American public memory, if it’s remembered at all. But Fallujah is a city where people work, attend school, and frequent public spaces wanting what we all want: a chance to peaceably choose our lives. This exhibit can be thought of as a first step to reimagining places damaged or destroyed during the Iraq War.

It’s difficult to know if many people care about the effects of American state-sponsored violence overseas, but we should. The same fighter jets that streak over stadiums in the United States to patriotic cheers once streaked over Fallujah to drop 500-pound bombs. One of these realities is visible; the other is not. The disparity between the two is informed by how war is represented in different cultural contexts. We see the weapons of war, the happy homecomings, and sometimes we even glimpse, briefly, the damage to soldiers’ bodies. What we don’t witness are the citizens of other countries affected by war.

We feel this is an important time to consider the specific perspectives, lives, and interests of citizens usually viewed as secondary to global and strategic military concerns.

After a twenty-one-year career in the United States Army, John Bechtold is living his second act of life as an artist and academic. He was in Iraq twice, once as a platoon leader and once again as an advisor to the Iraqi Army. That experience continues to shape how he sees the world. John holds a Master’s degree from Duke University and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the American Studies program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His dissertation explores
the representation of war in American public memory.

Artist Talk on Thursday, Oct 21 at 7pm.

also on view through Nov. 6

Eight person sketchbook/artists’s book exhibit with multiple books by each artist and fully handleable.

TORN: A Year that Changed Everything. Altered newspaper mixed media pieces by Margaret Sartor, presented in a sequenced grid. Prints for sale.


October 15
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PS 118 Gallery & Event Space
118 West Parrish Street
Durham, NC 27701 United States
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