The overlooked side of war
Simon Brann Thorpe's "Toy Soldiers" frames a real soldier as a toy one to emphasize the dehumanizing nature of war. Photo by Austin Dickey.

The overlooked side of war

War is, unfortunately, a reality of the world around us, and while it may not be happening directly in front of our eyes, wars of all kinds are being battled across the globe each and every day. “War is Only Half the Story: The Aftermath Project” at the Albin O. Kuhn Library looks to raise awareness for these events by showcasing wars of all types, from political wars to wars for gender and racial equality. The project brings each unique battle and the road to recovery to light, even ones that go unnoticed in today’s fast-moving news cycle.

The aftermath is a major aspect of war that often goes overlooked by those not involved. This gallery revisits war sites and shows how they are still currently being impacted by the remnants of war. The pictures put into perspective what life is truly like for those recovering in the aftermath, leading viewers to realize that even though the soldiers may have left, an area may not yet be free from war. Rather, wars inflict damage that take years to repair, and leave mental scars that last a lifetime.

War is viewed in the eyes of the media as a necessary price we must pay in order to achieve certain goals. This project, however, aims to redefine the way the press report wars. As you walk through the gallery, the distressed faces and misplaced families call out to you, giving viewers a wake-up call about the darker side of war that is rarely reported to those not directly involved.

The exhibition is a collection of photos from over 50 photographers over a ten-year span. Furthermore, the pictures come from a variety of settings that have fallen victim to turmoil and violence. The war on race in America, while not the first thought that comes to mind when one hears the term “American Wars,” leads viewers to realize the severity and impact this war has had on those affected. The pictures of white supremacists and distressed African Americans bring the situation the justice it deserves, as it is still a major issue in our country — it has simply gotten lost in the constantly changing interests of the media.

Some pictures show wars the majority of the world is not even aware of, like the fight to stop sexual violence in the Congo. As you stare into the photo, a woman stares back, and despite being a single picture, a viewer can tell a story just by looking into her eyes; she represents the thousands of women in Congo who face the same struggle as she does.

When we think of a war we typically think of guns and soldiers, but this exhibition proves there are many types of war, and they are occurring all around us, most of them hidden from public eye. However, the most eye-opening aspect of these photos is that despite most of these wars having ended decades ago, repercussions still ring through the towns they impacted and continue to play a role in everyday lives.

The gallery will be on display in the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery until May 26, 2018