Four remaining WWII veterans from the 32nd Red Arrow Division will be attending a reception for ArtPrize artist Kimberly Gill and view their images within in her entry, “Fading Warriors.” The piece is being exhibited at First United Methodist Church, 227 E. Fulton and the reception is 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, September 27.
Gill’s ArtPrize entry was inspired by her late father Jack Hill, who fought valiantly alongside his fellow Red Arrow soldiers in the Pacific Theater. Their experiences were highlighted in the documentary film, “Nightmare in New Guinea,” produced by students and faculty of the Department of History and the School of Communications at Grand Valley State University.
“My father was one of the heroes interviewed for the documentary,” said Gill. “In capturing the later-day likenesses of these warriors and collages of photographs used in the film, my objective was to honor them and keep alive the memory of their sacrifices.”
It was important to Gill to portray the veterans’ enduring strength of character and indomitable spirit, which she said remain undimmed by the passage of time. “For most of them, their service was a life-changing event. Despite more than 65 years that separate them from wartime, their memories of those experiences are both vivid and emotional,” she said.
The artist worked with watercolor, gouache, charcoal and pastel to create an abstract impression of disappearing, or fading away, in the 8-foot by 4-foot piece. “There is an abstract feeling of disappearing as many of these men have passed,” Gill said. “Their stories need to be preserved.”
Visit http://www.artprize.org/artists/public-profile/18851 for more information about Gill’s ArtPrize entry.
Professor James Smither, director of the GVSU Veterans History Project, in partnership with the Library of Congress, can be contacted at (616) 331-3422, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more at http://www.gvsu.edu/vethistory/.