01/22/14 — Art exhibit puts photos to war stories

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Art exhibit puts photos to war stories

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on January 22, 2014 1:46 PM

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Arts Council of Wayne County Gallery Director Traycee Williams arranges photos in the main gallery for the upcoming "A Thousands Words" display. The exhibit will be open to the public through Jan. 31 and will feature Vietnam war photos taken by soldiers serving in the conflict.

North Carolina veterans tell of their war experiences in Vietnam through the exhibit "A Thousand Words."

The exhibit is currently at the Arts Council of Wayne County through Jan. 31, in conjunction with this year's Wayne County Reads book "The Things They Carried."

In his book, author Tim O'Brien tells about being drafted and his experiences in the Vietnam War.

"This exhibit has traveled all over the country," Arts Council Director Sarah Merritt said. "It's a similar concept to the Afghanistan exhibit we did."

"A Thousand Words" was curated by Martin Tucker, photography instructor at Sawtooth School for Visual Art in Winston-Salem. It includes photographs taken by Vietnam veterans during their tour of duty in Vietnam.

And each of the 60 photos comes with a narrative by the veteran who took it.

Narratives range from observations such as "the most valuable item in my possession was my ballpoint pen" to thought-provoking statements about other soldiers, like "an Army man once told me he'd never met a Marine that thought he was going to die."

Martin said the exhibit enables North Carolina veterans of the Vietnam War to tell their story. It's a very personal look at what the military personnel experienced and how they chose to document it.

Topics include camaraderie, jungle combat, the Vietnamese people and a soldier's private moments.

Martin said that through the exhibit, the veterans found a way to express what they couldn't say. Veterans who were silent about the war before now could talk about their experiences.

"It's going to be a really cool exhibit," Mrs. Merritt said. "I think it's also going to be very educational."

Days and hours for the exhibit will be Monday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m.

The exhibit will be at the University of Mount Olive library Feb. 1 through 18 and the Wayne County Museum Feb. 19 through March 4.

For more information about the exhibit, call the Arts Council at 919-736-3300.