Combat Paper Project comes to ODU

Posted at 6:42 PM, Jul 17, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-17 18:42:43-04

A project that helps veterans create art from the uniforms they wore in combat is on display at Old Dominion University.

The Combat Paper Project is a workshop that takes the uniforms, cuts them into pieces, beats them into pulp and then forms them into sheets of paper.

An exhibit of art from the workshop is currently on display at ODU's Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Gallery until September 9.

Curator Ramona Austin says she was even shocked at how powerful the art is when it arrived.

"I was blown away. I knew it was powerful but when I opened the boxes, I thought 'oh my goodness,'" Austin said.

The project is designed to give veterans a way to share their experiences at war.

"It's the means to heal. It's the means to express what they've been to and to communicate it to us who have not been there," Austin expressed.

Hero Barker saw the exhibit for the first time Tuesday afternoon.

"It is almost indescribable because it is just very, not quite chilling, but very thought-provoking," Barker explained.

Barker works with veterans as the director of Small Business Programs at ODU's Business Gateway. She says things like the Combat Paper Project are crucial in making the transition to the civilian world.

"It helps them move forward more productively. It gets them maybe out of a rut where they are stuck and helps them heal," Barked explained.

For more on the Combat Paper Project, you can visit the website here.