The lives of many caught up in the turmoil of war can change in an instant. Advances in battlefront medical aid and improvements in body armor are saving lives, even if soldiers and civilians are badly wounded.
Those who survive need to rely as much on a resiliency of spirit as on medical intervention. A national touring exhibition, featuring works both by artists who have been struck by an orthopaedic condition and by the physicians who treat them, will be presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., from June 1 through August 31, 2011.
“Wounded in Action: An Art Exhibition of Orthopaedic Advancements,” which made its debut at the 2010 AAOS Annual Meeting, includes 107 artworks by 77 artists. The artists explore complex feelings toward musculoskeletal wounds, including the loss of limbs in war. The contributors include military personnel who live with orthopaedic injuries, family members who help the wounded through their recovery process, and the military surgeons who treated them.
Among the media used in the juried exhibition are painting, photography, digital art, clay, watercolor, sculpture, lithographs, and mixed media. The exhibition and its 110-page catalog are offered as a tribute to the heroes who have served their countries in wars throughout the world. “The art,” the catalog observes, “celebrates the strength and spirit of the injured troops, wounded civilians, and their families, as well as the commitment of orthopaedic surgeons who assist them on their journey to recovery.”
The Cultural Center in Chicago is the fifth stop on a national tour. The exhibition has also been displayed in New Orleans and in Washington, D.C., at the Russell Senate Rotunda, the National Museum of Health and Medicine, and at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. After Chicago, the show will travel to the U.S. Army Medical Department Museum in San Antonio, Texas, and the Evans Army Community Hospital and Soldier Family Care Center in Fort Carson, Colo.
“Any AAOS members who plan to be in Chicago this summer should definitely mark this exhibit as a ‘must-see,’” said Michael F. Schafer, MD, chair of the AAOS Communications Cabinet. “The artworks will touch your spirit, and the setting is one of the most beautiful in the city.”