Art of Injustice brings peace awareness to Muncie IN

Jake Ressler stands in front of some of his artwork at The Cup. Photo by K. Paul Mallasch

Artist Jake Ressler's "Arise" a compelling depiction of war and its excess

By Rick Yencer

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) - When Caleb Hoagland was fighting in Iraq, he had to turn off his anti-war belief a bit just to survive.

 "It was all part of survival," said Hoagland, a Ball State student, peace activist and military veteran.

Hoagland was among those who spoke at the preview of Art of Injustice, an exhibit of photos, portraits, illustrations and ceramics about the pointlessness of war. The exhibit is on display at The Cup in the University Village.

More than 30 people enjoyed talks by peace advocates like George Wolfe, a Ball State music professor; Gerald Waite, a researcher for the university's Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, and others like Hoagland.

Some of the vivid images portrayed by Jake Ressler showed the futility of war like a young child  armed with only a sling shot fighting back against others who opposed him. Ressler is involved in human rights activism and is an emerging artist and poet,

Ressler was part of the Occupy Wall Street movement, as was Hoagland, who talked of peace and trying to get back to civilian life after serving in Iraq.

The art was a lot like other anti war illustrations found at the National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago.

Aaron Hughes, who chairs the art committee for that museum, offered a few words from an online video about the importance of peace and efforts to illustrate it (and war) in art.

Hoagland told a story of being a poor kid who wanted to go to college and found the only way to higher education was to serve in the military and have the government pay.

His service in Iraq was always in front operating areas where fire fights were routine and survival was the priority.

Like others fighting in wats before him, Hoagland saw that mostly inner city youth and rural poor kids served in the military and fighting for their country.

His time in Iraq - when not on patrol or protecting military installations - included helping build schools and housing to help Iraqi refugees and their families.

When asked how people could stop continued military intervention into other countries, Hoagland recommended people become activists, talk to members of Congress and encourage them not to use the military to figth wars with little purpose..

Hoagland has been involved in protests - like being water boarded in front of Bracken Library at Ball State to object to torture at Guantanamo Bay.

Waite told the story of going back to Vietnam where he oncefought and making peace with a man who killed a fellow solider and friend during the war.

The exhibit, featuring art by Ressler and Hughes, as well as ceramic cups made by Ehren Tool, another Gulf War veteran, all have images of war and its destruction. The art will be on display at the Cup through early March.

Jake Ressler stands in front of some of his artwork at The Cup. Photo by K. Paul Mallasch

 

Caleb Hoagland sits and talks to the crowd about his war experience. Photo by K. Paul Mallasch