A new exhibit called “The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now” opens this week in Washington, D.C.
Portraits of deployed troops, both in combat and off duty, will be shown along with other images to represent the reality of the modern war fighter and the human cost of the ongoing wars, say organizers with the Smithsonian’s
National Portrait Gallery.
Among the artists contributing to the exhibit is a decorated combat veteran and award-winning military photojournalist, Stacy Pearsall, who has photographed thousands of veterans for the
Veterans Portrait Project.
The exhibit of more than 50 art works, including paintings, photographs, drawings and video, will open Friday at the National Portrait Gallery. The works will be on view through Jan. 28.
The intent is not just to portray the experience of war, but to show “a stronger connection to the personal ramifications of war and reveal deeper perspectives on the lives affected,” according to Smithsonian’s description of the exhibit.
Six artists are included in the exhibit: Pearsall, Ashley Gilbertson, the late Tim Hetherington, Louie Palu, Emily Prince and Vincent Valdez. Hetherington was the British photojournalist who co-directed the film "Restrepo" with Sebastian Junger. He was killed in 2011 amid fighting in Libya while covering the civil war there.
The art works focus on the impact and consequences of war for service members who experience it “in the context of a culture that has, in many ways, normalized warfare,” according to the organizers.
Pearsall is one of those American service members who went to war and suffered injuries in combat. She began her career as an Air Force photographer, traveled to more than 40 countries and served three combat deployments, according to her
She earned a Bronze Star and Air Force Commendation Medal with valor for combat actions in Iraq. Pearsall left the service as a staff sergeant, disabled because of her injuries. She is now an independent photographer and one of two women to win the National Press Photographers Association Military Photographer of the Year competition, which she won twice.
The National Portrait Gallery is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture at Eighth and F streets N.W., Washington, D.C.