The Combat Paper Project is visiting UA this week. They are a remarkable group of people pursuing art and engagement through powerful and difficult conversations while deconstructing the military uniform and reforming it into a cathartic piece of artwork. Drew Luan Matott, one of the co-founders of the project, initially started the project intending to send an anti-war message. Soon he discovered that he "could not guide people's voices." The project takes on its own personality and voice with each group of people who work on a project; a new voice, a new message. Sometimes the message is positive, sometimes the message is angry, each time it is infused with the emotions of the individuals who participate. Each member of the group emphasizes that the purpose of the project, beyond creating art, is to engage in a conversation about war, patriotism, service, home, and identity.
We live in a time where some of our children have never seen a day that our nation was not at war with terror. Yet so many of these children aren't even aware that we are at war. As a nation, we are fatigued by war and not just our soldiers. Our relentless 24 hour news media seems to have said what they have to say and public knowledge of the war has all but disappeared. Is it because we have forgotten? Or are we just tired of hearing about it? Soldiers currently deployed are angry that the country seems to have forgotten them. How do we express our support for the individuals when so many are opposed to the cause of their absence? Or not even opposed but merely fatigued?
The focus of this project seems to be revolving around the notion of coming home and raising awareness that we still are at war. CPP has only been here for three days but already it had been a powerful and very emotional experience. They will be here until Friday. I'm excited to see what else develops, art and conversation wise.