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Forgotten Wars & Flowers
Aaron Hughes with collaborator Amber Ginsburg
Oct 26-Dec 17 | Fine Arts Gallery
Tea Project performance: Nov 10 | 1:15pm and 5:15pm
Limited to 30 people per performance. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP.
Do you remember the wars we fought?
Were they for freedom of fear?
Do you remember the flowers we saw?
Were they for joy or sorrow?
Forgotten Wars & Flowers features solo and collaborative projects by artist, activist, and Iraq War veteran Aaron Hughes. The exhibition brings together works from the past decade that seek to bridge cultural divides and find moments of shared humanity and beauty amidst, and despite, the ongoing "Global War on Terror."
Projects such as Dust Memories and 21 Days to Baghdad/Chicago that respond to Hughes' own military experience will be exhibited alongside Ahmed, an experimental video documenting the photographs of a young Iraqi boy, offering a counterpoint to the dominant U.S. veteran narrative. The exhibition's centerpiece will be the Tea Project, a collaboration with artist Amber Ginsburg consisting of works on paper, a large scale ceramic installation, and intimate performances and dialogues hosted over cups of tea. Inspired by accounts of Guantanamo Bay detainees drawing flowers on Styrofoam cups, Hughes and Ginsburg created 779 porcelain cast Styrofoam cups, one for each individual detained at Guantanamo since 2001. Each cup is inscribed with national or native flowers from the detainees' countries of citizenship. During the related performances these teacups are taken out of display and used by guests as Hughes weaves the ritual and communal aspects of preparing and serving tea with stories of detention, love, and war.
Aaron Hughes holds an M.F.A. from Northwestern University and has exhibited, performed, and delivered lectures both nationally and internationally. He works with a variety of art, veteran and activist organizations and projects including: Warrior Writers, Dirty Canteen, National Veterans Art Museum, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Justseeds Artists' Cooperative, and Center for Artistic Activism.
Trained as a ceramicist, Amber Ginsburg focuses on collaborative site-specific installations and social sculptures that insert historical scenarios into present-day situation. She is a lecturer at the University of Chicago and has shown at the Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, among other venues.