Endgame: Afghanistan is an exhibit that was featured from Oct. 10 to Nov. 11 in the Martha Gault Art Gallery which featured a solo exhibit by the artist Benjamin Brody on the effects of war.
Brody was invited to come and display his work at Slippery Rock University by the director of the Martha Gault Art Gallery, Dr. Theresa Antonellis.
Antonellis has a history of meeting Brody prior to her professing at Slippery Rock. Antonellis was the director of the art gallery at UMass of Amherst when she discovered Brody’s passion for his photography of war and effects of war.
Antonellis said she has been awaiting to give Brody the exposure he deserves by presenting his art on a broader scale outside of what he’s used to. His exhibit lines up with Veterans Day next month.
“I became aware that SRU has a strong veteran presence, and felt that the time near Veteran’s Day commemorations and near SRU special events would be a perfect opportunity for an exhibition of Brody’s photography at the Martha Gault Art Gallery,” Antonellis said.
Antonellis said she feels that art unifies people, finds a way into the heart, open doors we didn’t know were closed, and gets the viewer to connect with their own feelings, and feel more connected to humanity as a whole. She hopes to raise awareness of the commitments made by student veterans and hope the student veterans feel validated and appreciated.
“Art is a great equalizer and my underlying intention is always one of awareness and inclusion” Antonellis said.
The art displayed triggered different emotion for both veterans and those lacking experience in the military. Veterans of war will recognize the scenes, emotions and struggles that Brody captured, Antonellis said.
“These images draw me into his experience with gravity and beauty, so that one feels a tremendous sense of awe in the face of these landscapes and portraits,” Antonellis said.
Antonellis said she feels transported into this environment with clarity and it gives her an immediate sense of empathy with the people portrayed in Brody’s images.
The “Endgame: Afghanistan” exhibit is seen to be opposite from the previous exhibit “Our Body Our Selves.” “Endgame: Afghanistan” content is geographical, political and social to capture the time of the American War in Afghanistan.
The previous exhibition, “Our Bodies Our Selves” had artworks of many materials and sizes from multiple female artists all focused on the female form. Each artist presented the female form with heightened observations in a personal way that let the viewer question assigned identity, leaving room for vulnerability and honesty.
“Some viewers may have found one exhibition daunting, but feel quite at home in another exhibition,” Antonellis said.
Antonellis said both exhibitions have the same intent and she hopes the same outcome of increasing understanding of ourselves in the world and of each other.
The Martha Gault Art Gallery has a Response wall. Visitors are given the opportunity to express their opinion of a specific artwork or all the artwork. The wall is an ongoing discussion between artist and the audience. When cards are read by others, understanding increases. Once the exhibition closes, the cards are sent to the artist to receive direct feedback from the audience.