By Grace Nichols for The Island Eye News
At their beginning in 2012, Bullets and Bandaids was an art organization focused on finding commonality between veterans and civilians through collaborative art forms. Veterans who are willing to share their experiences are paired with civilian writers and artists who transform their stories into art. During their first exhibitions they raised funds for other nonprofits, but in 2016 they became their own nonprofit continuing their initial mission of facilitating connections between people. “We are all sharing a common human journey,” said founder Robert LeHeup. This human commonality and connection Leheup is referring to can get lost when veterans return from combat.
This is the main idea which will be seen all throughout their latest exhibition tour called “What Now?” It is “through that understanding… [of reconnecting that] you can find support and responsibility in your fellow man.” This latest iteration will be the organization’s first as a stand alone nonprofit, and will feature 42 stories from seven different countries, and 40 artists with a ranging of mediums. LeHeup said he wanted to “showcase” stories from around the world to highlight the “depth and breadth of the human condition in regards to being a veteran or experiencing war.” Because war has no geographical boundaries it is something that those who have experienced it can relate to regardless of location. Some of the stories you can look forward to at the event are one from an Afghan interpreter and the person who was trying to get him out of the country after the collapse of Kabul. One about a Lebanese man who traveled to Syria, and remarkably wound up meeting his extended family who he had no idea even existed. Another by a black woman in the Marine Corps in which she reflects on the cultural differences and relationship between the Senegalese and the Marine Corps. Finally one about a Dutch man who stumbled upon WWII remains while on a farm in France.
With these stories and many more the event is one not to miss. You can buy tickets online, as well as a book telling all of the stories behind the artwork. After one week after the final show all of the art work will go up for auction.