The Veterans Book Project, an art collaboration by Monica Haller, opens at the KOA Art Gallery this week.
The exhibition will be up Feb. 7 through March 14. An opening reception and gallery talk will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 7. Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.
The Veterans Book Project consists of 50 books, each written by individuals with firsthand experience of the current American wars. Most of the bookmakers are veterans; some are family members of soldiers, and others are Iraqi or Afghan civilian refugees.
Haller's aim in creating the Veterans Book Project has been to provide a framework for veterans and others to talk about their memories of war, and to offer exhibitions of the project as quiet spaces for contemplation and thoughtful discussion about war and its impact on our lives.
In 2005, motivated by a desire to understand the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Haller began asking veterans and others to share their experiences with her. She facilitated bookmaking workshops from 2009-2013 in which participants could organize their personal photographs and writing.
Each book stands alone, but each is also a part of the larger Veterans Book Project library meant to be shown in galleries.
The Veterans Book Project has been presented at the Milwaukee Art Museum and has been featured in galleries at Carthage College, Antioch College, Colorado College, University of Wisconsin-Parkside and other locations.
Haller is a media artist who uses design, photo, sound and installation. She often attempts to use materials and experiences her collaborators bring from their own lives, reorganizing these materials or data to propose different ways of seeing.
Haller, who holds a bachelor's degree in peace and conflict studies and a master's degree in visual studies, is the recipient of Guggenheim, Jerome, and McKnight fellowships and National Endowment for the Arts support. She has made presentations at the Centre Pompidou, Rhode Island School of Design, and Harvard University.