SURVIVING THE LONG WARS: Unlikely Entanglements

SURVIVING THE LONG WARS: Unlikely Entanglements reveals the connections that emerge between personal and collective histories of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities marked by the legacies of the two longest wars in US history—the “American Indian Wars” and the “Global War on Terror.” 

Visual parallels and connections surface—from contrasting viewpoints and across differences—between artworks by civilians impacted by these long wars and BIPOC military veterans. These “unlikely entanglements” highlight the aesthetic affinities that form between different histories, geographies, and peoples resisting colonialism. The featured artists use collage, embroidery, soft sculpture, and installation to unravel dominant histories of militarism while weaving together intimate stories of survival and resistance. Collectively, these consequential artworks of wartime survivors and their descendants conjure meaning out of the traumatic afterlives of the long wars while creating space for solidarity and alternative futures.

Unlikely Entanglements is one of the three featured exhibitions of the second Veteran Art Triennial, SURVIVING THE LONG WARS. From the “American Indian Wars” to the “Global War on Terror,” SURVIVING THE LONG WARS explores the multiple, overlapping histories that shape our understanding of warfare, as well as alternative visions of peace, healing, and justice generated by diverse and entangled communities impacted by war. The other exhibitions include Residues and Rebellions at the Newberry Library and Reckon and Reimagine at the Chicago Cultural Center.

  • Exhibition: March 18 – July 9, 2023
    Opening Program: March 16 and March 17, 2023
  • Kanter Family Foundation Gallery & Gallery 5

SURVIVING THE LONG WARS: Unlikely Entanglements

Featured Artists

Bassim Al-Shaker, June Carpenter (Osage/Shawnee), Mahwish Chishty, Jose deVera, Sabba Elahi, Rodney Ewing, Sarah Farahat, Rajkamal Kahlon, Ruth Kaneko (Kanaka Wahine), Eric Perez, Yvette Pino, Gregory Rick, Dwayne Wilcox (Oglala Lakota), and Yiran Zhang.

Eric Perez is the 2023 David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation Awardee.


SURVIVING THE LONG WARS is organized by Aaron Hughes, Ronak K. Kapadia, Therese Quinn, Joseph Lefthand, Amber Zora, and Meranda Roberts, with support from the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) Institute for the Humanities Innovation Grant, UIC Award for Creative Activity, Chicago Cultural Center, Hyde Park Art Center, Newberry Library, DEMIL Art Fund, and the National Endowment for the Humanities Dialogues on the Experience of War Grant. NEH Veteran Fellows include Gina Herrera, Monty Little, Gerald Sheffield, Anthony Torres, Eric Perez, and Natasha Erskine.


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