Naming pieces of art is often difficult for many artists. Some start with a name, others have to throw something together after it is complete, and yet others have names come to them as they are working on a piece. I tend to have all three happen for different works. This one, The Wounded Warrior, the whole concept of the work came to me as I was making it.
To me The Wounded Warrior represents both the emptiness felt by every warrior of all types and the hard armor they have to put on to cope with trauma both past and present.
The soldier facing the fact that he has taken lives, and watched friends and comrades die and be wounded all around them. The wounds, both physical and mental, that they suffer from the act of being in war. The utter lack of support by a country that sent them off to another part of the world to face a hellish nightmare, then does almost nothing to support them as they try to reintegrate into a society that has no clue the horrors they have endured.
The rape survivor that feels shame over what they had no choice or control. The wondering if anyone would ever believe them, the sheer effort of will it takes to keep living life with the scars and turmoil, wondering if they will ever feel safe and secure again, the rest of their lives.
The victim of abuse who has been so betrayed by those that were supposed to love them most. The feelings of doubt that they will ever be able to trust again.
The mental health survivor, that keeps putting one foot in front of the other and deals with the shame of a society that can’t even look them in the eye.
Fight on brave warriors, fight on.
These and many more suffer daily to just simply live. Post-traumatic stress is all too common in our society as survivors of all types of trauma and abuse struggle against societal ideals that ignore the hurting and suffering. Stigmatized and shunned for things they may have had absolutely no control over, it wasn’t their choice to be damaged by others, and society often acts as if they should just get over it instead of offering real help, support, love, and healing to those that need it most.
My hope for those that see The Wounded Warrior will see it as a calling. To those that have suffered, you are not alone, and there is help out there if you seek it. The road is still long and hard, but you can make it, and maybe become even stronger in some ways then you ever were. To those that have not, maybe this can be a call to action, to help those around you that might be struggling. You never know what a person is suffering on the inside. Many victims have become very good at wearing the mask that makes the world think everything is fine, while inside they are crying, screaming, and suffering. Find a way to help. Sometimes all it takes to help is a kind word or caring glance to make the world just a little brighter for those living in darkness.
The Wounded Warrior is currently at Crossroads Art Center in Richmond Virginia and is available for purchase.