Though Bill Blahd's soldier-themed exhibit, In Our Name: Bill Blahd Paintings 2010-2011, speaks volumes by itself, gallery-goers will have the unique opportunity to hear Blahd tell the stories behind his paintings on Thursday, June 23.
His artist's dialogue will include a panel of U.S. veterans who will engage in a discussion relating to Blahd's pieces, which depict veterans' stories of struggles both on the battlefield and at home after war. The collection was inspired by the artist's work as an ER doctor at the Veterans' Affairs Medical Center in Boise.
Blahd's career in emergency rooms spans 30 years, but three years in the VA hospital emergency room led him to interpret his patients' stories on canvas. Though the veterans featured are anonymous, they still have a powerful presence. His hope is for people to experience the emotions of soldiers.
"I've created and am sharing these works of art not so much for the returning vets, but more so for the public, in whose name these soldiers are sent to fight," Blahd wrote in his artist's statement.
Blahd also hopes that his work will act as a catalyst between returned soldiers and their friends and families to ignite discussions about how their service affected their lives and their hopes for the future.