Art in the time of war. This phrasing subtly expresses the struggles artists face to articulate the crises of war through art and the tensions that come with creating pleasurable art at a time when the world is constantly enmeshed in war. This art project intends to recognize this dilemma while foregrounding the fact that war is everywhere all the time. War is both the physical violent altercations that continue to tear lives and livelihoods down as well as the mental battles that we constantly need to fight before we finally bring ourselves to a place of self-acceptance. War is many things just as art is, hence, art in any of its manifestations is mostly a reiterative expression of war. History repeats itself through wars, be it the war of the mind, the war on our climate, the war with our bodies and their disabilities, or the war among nations. In short, war is an art and art is about wars. The Arts of War project intends to express this artistic philosophy about the pluralistic nature of war through a university-wide art exhibition and Tuscaloosa-based community art outreach. Community members who take the Tuscaloosa trollies were asked the question: “What wars are you fighting?” and found artistic outlets to talk about the wars which they contend. The project encourages storytelling and reminds us that war is not just about battle tanks, nuclear missiles, and bullets going off in far-away countries, but that conflicts reside in the hearts and lives of people we know and love.
The exhibit features work from a broad range of artists, including students, veterans and a prisoner to showcase the different perspectives and experiences of war. Oluwafunmilayo Akinpelu, exhibit director and UA Ph.D. student, worked with each participant to ensure collaborative and diverse displays of artwork. Each piece of art is an interpretation of Machiavellian and Sun Tzu-ian’s concept, war is an art and art is about wars.
“It has shown me that everyone has something to say, and everyone has the story to tell when it comes about war,” said Akinpelu.
Akinpelu created the art exhibit as her own personal response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Visitors can expect to engage with the exhibit through a personal and introspective journey. Akinpelu hopes that the artwork will serve as a channel for visitors to reflect on their own experiences of war.
“The artworks I hope, will be just a conduit for each visitor to truly and honestly remark on their own experiences of war and the wars that we are fighting,” said Akinpelu. “So, as much as art is an expressive mood, it is also a mood of introspection.”
Arts of War: Heart of War will be held at the Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum on February 24 – March 28, 2023. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 am until 4:30 pm and is closed Sundays, Mondays, and major holidays.
General admission to the transportation museum is always free! We charge a small fee for guided tours. Contact us for more information about guided tours.
The museum is located at the intersection of Queen City Avenue and Jack Warner Parkway, across Queen City from the Tuscaloosa Public Library. The street address is 1901 Jack Warner Parkway, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401.
Check out our Directions page for step-by-step directions and parking and public transit info.