CHICAGO, IL - Just added to the Celebrating Women of Courage exhibition at the Ukrainian National Museum of Chicago is an important, first-of-its-kind veteran-made memorial, honoring 194 fallen women who served in various branches of the U.S. military under the department defense since September 11, 2001.
The display case ( designed to accommodate wheelchair accessibility ) contains 194 dog tags with photographic images and information about each of the women.
Curator Jerry Kikisz, came up with the concept of honoring these women by creating a traveling memorial for them. Visitors can touch the tags, learn about, and honor each of these women who dedicated their lives to serving the United States of America.
Jerry believes this is an important contribution to the Celebrating Women of Courage exhibition in that the wounds of war stretch far, encompassing the lives of thousands of veterans who face physical, mental, and/or emotional struggles on a daily basis. In order to continue to serve these veterans, we must look toward meaningful ways to engage them and encourage them to rediscover their strengths and value.
The purpose of this display is to engage and inform the public about the reach of sacrifice, and how those who have sacrificed all can be remembered and honored beyond their name or statistical placement in a casualty database; and to offer therapeutic opportunities to veterans suffering from post-war wounds and illnesses, through the combination of Art Therapy and Logotherapy practices. More about A Touching Tribute:
The Long War Memorial can be found on the website www.atouchingtribute.org .
This traveling exhibition is curated by local Vietnam Veteran/Artist Jerry Kykisz ( U.S. Army ) and features photography, paintings, mixed media, poetry and short films of and by over 15 courageous artists from across the country who have overcome extreme difficulties in their lives.
Many of the artists in this group exhibition are U.S. Veterans, Native Americans, and cancer survivors. Artists include Andrea Harris, Isis Charise, Lindsay Delaronde, Kathleen Flynn, Katsitsionni Fox, Kathryn Hopkins, Mandy John-Collins, Renee McGinnis, Awenheeyoh Powless, Nancy Scott, and Annamae Taubeneck, to list just a few.
The Ukrainian National Museum is located at 2249 W. Superior St., Chicago, Illinois 60612. The exhibition will be on display from March 10, 2017 until March 31, 2017.
Phone: 312-421-8020. Viewing Hours are Thu - Sun ( 11 am to 4 pm ).
Admission to the museum is $5 ( children under 12 are free ).
Mr. Kykisz is one of the founding members of the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum and a renowned photographer. In Mr. Kykisz's experiences at the NVVAM, he often came across female veterans who had important and inspirational experiences. He has kept in touch with many of these women and shares their stories in this visual art exhibition. Jerry explains, All of my life I have known courageous women but until recently did not realize how many there were, nor did I fully comprehend the extent of their bravery. The circumstances in today's media world have exposed me to the scope of the matter. Young girls seeking an education face death from terrorists. Mothers seeking safety for their children endure treacherous journeys. Women warriors risk life and limb in combat for our country. In the quest for equality and justice, women have shown the world courage they cannot be denied and must be celebrated. I would like to thank the Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Cave, NY for assisting with this exhibit. Of all the women serving in the armed forces, some 18,000 are native, most with a strong family history of military service.
According to longhouse tradition, it is the women who may declare war, while the men go to battle. Breaking the traditional roles within family and military culture as the first female family member to serve and often the first female member of their unit, takes a lot of courage.