LaToya Lucas is one of many local Veterans at the Durham VA that use the creative arts as one form of rehabilitative treatment to help Veterans recover from and cope with physical and emotional disabilities. Across the country each year, Veterans treated at VA facilities compete in a local creative arts competition. The competition includes 53 categories in the visual arts division this year that range from oil painting to leatherwork to paint-by-number kits. In addition, there are 120 categories in the performing arts pertaining to all aspects of music, dance, drama and creative writing. Learn more about the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival here: http://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/caf/index.asp.
The Face of War
By: LaToya Lucas
I named this project, "The Faces of War". The freedom that we as Americans collectively share, as well as those qualities of safety, confidence, and pride, comes with a price tag. That price tag is very costly. It has been paid continuously in blood, sweat, and tears by American service members.
This clay mask that I have designed, shaped, molded, and painted, is a representation of my combat experience in Iraq. In 2003, I was severely wounded during an enemy ambush in Mosul, Iraq. I nearly lost my life when I sustained two direct hits from RPG's (rocket-propelled grenades) fired by enemy insurgents.
The indentations on the mask represent human imperfection. The color black represents my solidarity with other Wounded-Warrior Veterans of all ethnic backgrounds. The Iraq Campaign medal is earned by service members who served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Purple Heart Medal, which I received after being wounded in Iraq, is painted as a symbol for sacrifice in the face of war. The Purple Heart Medal is presented to service members killed or wounded in combat.
The red scar on the face of the mask is a representation of physical wounds. My concept of the closed eyes on the mask represents the internal wounds that I face from within.