A Speaker Series in Conjunction with The Unknown Soldier exhibit by David Jayvisit the site
In November 2017, Duke’s Forum for Scholars and Publics hosted The Unknown Soldier, the groundbreaking photography exhibit created by award-winning photographer David Jay.
The concurrent In/Visible Wounds Speaker Series engaged with the photographs and explored the expressions, effects, and meanings of military service.
I hope the images transcend the narrow and simplistic confines of “war” and encourage us to examine the way we engage each other — both friend and stranger — at the most basic, day-to-day level. —Photographer David Jay
About the Exhibit
The critically acclaimed series of photographs entitled The Unknown Soldier features young and severely wounded soldiers returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. David Jay photographed his subjects in military hospitals, in their homes, and with their families, in an attempt to capture their lives following their injuries. “Ultimately,” says Jay, The Unknown Soldier “is not about war. It presents an opportunity to open a dialogue about issues we are not necessarily comfortable with … and also issues that we are responsible for. The images can be uncomfortable for the viewer. It forces us to confront our fears and inhibitions about life, death, sexuality, sickness, relationships, etc. Reality is not always pretty. This is reality. Let’s address it.”
During the exhibit’s ten-day stay at Duke, the Forum organized multiple opportunities for diverse groups to engage with the photographs and to participate in conversations inspired by them.
In/Visible Wounds Speaker Series
The exhibit opening event, “Portraying and Expressing the Experiences of War,” featured David Jay in conversation with military veterans/authors/teachers Jerri Bell, Tracy Crow, and LeJuane Bowens.
The lunchtime panel “Representation and Disability” explored images and narratives of disability and featured Duke scholars, practitioners, and advocates Jennifer Hawkins, John Moses, Cuquis Robledo, Marion L. Quirici, and Ashley L. Elrod.
The roundtable discussion “Meanings of Military Service: An Intergenerational Conversation” invited veterans from multiple eras and backgrounds into discussion.
The closing event, “Military Experience and Performing Arts,” highlighted the role of the performing arts in expressing and understanding the experiences of military service and war. Panelists included actress Nicki Hart, dancer Taylor Gordon, singer-songwriter Jason Moon, and poet and playwright Maurice Decaul. The event was emceed by scholar and performer Sonny Kelly.
“Telling the Story of the Unknown Soldier,” Duke Today
“These are some of the most courageous and inspiring men and women I have ever had the honor of meeting. I have been utterly humbled by their strength, humility and integrity. It has been a great honor to photograph you.” —David Jay
Find more information at veterans.dukefsp.org.
THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER BY DAVID JAY and IN/VISIBLE WOUNDS were co-sponsored by the Forum for Scholars and Publics and the Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation Endowment Fund at Duke University.
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