Photographs of the Iraq War will be on display alongside war diaries and other texts at Drexel. Photo credit: Gary Knight.
On the heels of the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War, the powerful multimedia exhibit “Invasion: Diaries and Memories of War in Iraq” will be on display in Drexel University’s URBN Center from Wednesday, May 15 through Thursday, May 23. The exhibit is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (a photo ID will be required to enter the building after 3 p.m.).
Called “…a window into the nature of war” by the New York Times, “Invasion: Diaries and Memories of War in Iraq” has received national and international acclaim for its uniquely human view of life on the frontline – from the trauma of death to the relentlessness of boredom and the absurd humor of war.
The exhibit features the raw and unfiltered war diaries of Marine Lt. Timothy McLaughlin, along with texts by journalist and author Peter Maass and photographs by Gary Knight, presenting three different experiences of the invasion from within the same unit.
“Invasion: Diaries and Memories of War in Iraq” was previously on display at the Bronx Documentary Center in New York. Drexel’s Kal and Lucille Rudman Institute for Entertainment Industry Studies and Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design are presenting the exhibit in Philadelphia.
On Wednesday, May 15, McLaughlin, Knight and Maass will join Drexel for a discussion about the exhibit at 6 p.m. in the URBN Center Annex, followed by a reception.
“With the Iraq war dimming in people’s minds, we felt it important to bring this powerful exhibit to Drexel and to the city of Philadelphia to ensure that the conversation continues and that the war is not forgotten,” said Karen Curry, executive director of the Rudman Institute.
Conceived and designed by Knight and Maass, the exhibit breaks new ground in documentary storytelling. An innovative grid-design includes diary pages blown up to poster-size along with pictures, maps and poems. The exhibit evokes the invasion in a multi-dimensional way, with a mix of visuals, text and sound. The exhibit also features a video installation using news footage from 2003 to enhance the atmosphere of the invasion era.
McLaughlin, who was working at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, was a tank commander with the first marine battalion to enter Baghdad in 2003. He was raised in New Hampshire and earned his bachelor’s degree from Holy Cross, majoring in Russian language and poetry. Now a lawyer in Boston, he is the president of Shelter Legal Services, a non-profit that offers free legal advice to veterans and the homeless.
Knight is an award-winning photographer for Newsweek and other major publications. He is a founder of the VII photo agency and director of the Program for Narrative and Documentary Studies at Tufts University. His war photography has been published worldwide and selected for major museum exhibitions. He traveled with McLaughlin’s battalion during the invasion of Iraq.
Maass is the author of Love Thy Neighbor: A Story of War, which chronicles his experiences covering the Bosnian conflict, and Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil. He has written for The New Yorker, New York Times Magazine and New York Review of Books. In 2012 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Maass also traveled with McLaughlin’s battalion in 2003.