Soldiersface in DC

Walking through the Metro this week and I noticed this billboard.  All it says is SOLDIER with this face looking at you:

Soldierface by Artist Suzanne Opton, is an exhibit of portraits of American soldiers.  It has been displayed in museums, but is an open air project that has been displayed on billboards in some US cities.  It just came to the DC Metro system this week.  

For those in and around DC, they'll be on display March 9 to April 4, 2010 at Farragut West (18th St. Entrance), Metro Center (12th & G Entrance), Gallery Place/Chinatown (Chi-town Entrance), L’Enfant Plaza, Pentagon City and Rosslyn.

Option says, that by presenting these images as public art, “The Soldier Billboard Project is bringing to the open air in America a subtle reminder of the realities of war...The billboards ask viewers to think about soldiers and about the psychological struggles of veterans and their families, and then reach their own conclusions.” 

The project has been protested and banned from some cities because some found them "uncomfortable."  People were apparently upset because they felt the soldiers looked dead.  One person even said it was upsetting for them to see it on their way to work. 

I think the project is awesome. 

It puts a face on the uniform and the word "soldier."  Its unfortunate that people are "uncomfortable" with the portraits, but I think as American's we need to OWN the war, whether we have an active part in it or not. 

In 1943 President Roosevelt approved the publishing of the now famous Buna Beach photo by George Strock, in part because Roosevelt feared that the American public might be growing complacent about the war and its horrific toll.  It was the first time an image of dead American troops appeared in LIFE during World War II without the bodies being draped, in coffins, or otherwise covered up.

Opton's soldiers are not dead, but if pictures of just the faces of soldiers are troublesome to people, does that mean some Americans are growing (or already) complacent about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Is that okay?

1 comment

Coll said...

Way Cool. Are they all the same?

Maira Gall