Sean Davis, Tiziana DellaRovere are serving the veteran community through art
Sean Davis in Iraq
From Sean Davis: As the veteran’s service coordinator for The Canticle of the Black Madonna, I have the best job of the entire team. While I’m looking forward to being a part of the amazing experience the nights the opera is performed, my favorite part of the process is getting veterans together in events such as the art sessions we will have late July and early August with combat veterans. Art heals the soul. I believe this whole-heartedly and can tell you from experience.
After I was critically injured in an ambush in Taji I was sent home bone-broke and soul-wrecked and during this time I slowly realized that the war wasn’t done with me yet. Here it is ten years later and nearing the anniversary of that ambush that killed my friend and sent me to the hospital for months and I have a coiled spring in my chest. I’m on edge again and I can’t sit with my back to people in public. Loud noises make me jump again. The combat I lived through is an echo that never goes away, and when I first came home that echo was so loud I could barely hear anything else. Art is what helped me through it. I started painting and somehow felt at ease.
Tiziana, the Librettist of the opera, had a very similar outlook on how art can heal. She had also lived through traumatic experiences in her life and she had led these types of art sessions before. So we came up with this idea to provide all the materials for art sessions in the gallery I hang my paintings.
There is no charge for veterans and at the end of the process the veterans can choose to hang their art at the gallery for a month. We will also have an art reception right in the middle of the Alberta Arts District in NE Portland where they can invite their friends and family.
In my experience once the war is inside of you it never leaves and many veterans have low times because of it no matter how long ago they were in combat. When those hard times happen many of us tend to isolate ourselves and this can be very detrimental to our relationships and to ourselves. Having veterans be a part of our art sessions can give them something to be proud of, something worth sharing and when we share we’re making connections with friends and family members again. Art is a way back from that self-imposed isolation. I’m proud to be a part of these sessions.