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Afghan vets honoured with art exhibits

Gorden Boivin, who nearly lost his left arm in an RPG explosion in Afghanistan, is the signature image of The Wounded, an exhibition sponsored by Legion Magazine and the Canadian War Museum. Featuring portraits and stories by Legion Magazine’s Stephen J. Thorne, it wraps a run at Ontario’s Museum London through Feb. 13, 2022, part of a national tour. It is scheduled to open in Trenton, Ont., in the fall.
Stephen J. Thorne/Legion Magazine

Canadian and other coalition troops wounded during the war in Afghanistan are front and centre in two exhibitions currently showing in France and Canada.   

In France, a combined exhibition of photographs and writings by a dozen wounded French veterans of the 20-year war opened on Oct. 18 and showed for 12 days at the Cercle National des Armées in Paris.

The photographs, accompanied by memories, insights and descriptions written by the troops who took the pictures, depict life on a typical deployment fraught with danger. “They experienced the insidious threat of a suicide bomber, of their armoured vehicle exploding [on] an IED,” said a release. “Unlike [some of] their brothers in arms, they have emerged alive from attacks.

“They left a part of [themselves] over there, far from their loved ones.” After its Paris run, the show—featuring work by officers and enlisted personnel—was scheduled to travel to Lyon and Bordeaux before opening in Lille-Roubaix-Tourcoing in early 2022. Other sites, all French garrison towns, were to be announced.

Meanwhile, “The Wounded,” a Canadian War Museum/Legion Magazine exhibition of pictures and stories of Canadian veterans wounded in Afghanistan, photographed and written by magazine staffer Stephen J. Thorne, reopened Oct. 16 for a four-month run at Museum London in Ontario.

The exhibition showed at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa for four months in 2019, then began a planned cross-country tour in the Niagara Region before the COVID-19 pandemic put further plans on pause.

Leah Cuffe, who is featured in “The Wounded” with her husband, IED survivor Mike Trauner, described it as an “incredible exhibition and emotional experience.” Added veterans’ advocate and trainer Peter Morel: “Every Canadian needs to see this exhibit.” “The Wounded” is showing at Museum London through Feb. 13.

 

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