Faces of the Fallen
Pitzer College hosted “To Never Forget: Faces of the Fallen,” October 7-November 11 in the Nichols Gallery in the Edythe and Eli Broad Center. The powerful event was attended by hundreds of students, staff, faculty and community members. The traveling show to date includes 1,749 portraits of American servicemen and women who have lost their lives while serving in Iraq.
Pitzer and the surrounding community painted more than 300 portraits to add to the exhibition. The new faces represent the work of more than 135 student, alumni, staff, faculty and local artists, and members of various art collectives. Artists of all stripes and levels of ability used a variety of media to represent, to the best of their abilities, the faces of those killed in the war in Iraq. It is an art show, yet so much more. What holds it together is the emotion that was poured into each portrait as the artist, and by extension, the viewer, comes face to face with a young man or woman killed in the line of duty.
Pitzer parents Richard and Margie Bunce P’02 were instrumental in bringing the show to Pitzer.
Pat Silver Casella ’66 was here when the College opened its doors in 1964. She was a psychology, philosophy and English literature major. She lives in Sewickley, Penn., and submitted an oil portrait to be included in the show after hearing about the exhibition through the Pitzer alumni network.
“This exhibition really got to my heart,” Casella said. “This was a tremendous bonding experience in which I was forced to pause and consider the effects of the war while at the same time feeling thankful for what the soldiers have done. The exhibition was an interesting invitation to reconnect with the College community. I am very proud the College is doing this and proud to be a small part of it.”
Kathryn Conour is a junior at Pitzer College majoring in political studies and carrying a minor in Spanish. She is from Tucson, Ariz. Conour coordinated the contributions of Pitzer students to the show through the Art Collective Club on campus. She was instrumental in getting many Pitzer students involved in the exhibition.
“The story of Cpl. Jeffrey Starr, whose portrait I was assigned to paint, jumped out at me,” Conour said. “He looks just like my best friend’s boyfriend. I read excerpts from his last letter home to his girlfriend in which he talked about getting engaged and formed a really personal connection to him. It’s really hard seeing the deaths of people my age. Participating in the exhibition gave me the opportunity to really look at the humanity of the war, which was the purpose of the exhibit. Standing in the gallery looking at all of the faces is overwhelming.”
Judith Selby Lang ’72 was an art major and she and her husband run a fine arts printing business in Forest Knolls, Calif.
“This exhibition is exactly what Pitzer and my art education at Pitzer are all about,” she said. “This is a tremendous exhibition and I am honored to be a 5x7 part of it. The process of painting for the show had deep reverberations in my personal life because I had not known anyone who was sent to Iraq or served in this war. It always felt distant and never came home to me. When I did a Google search on the soldier I was assigned to paint, this person came into my life. I intend to contact the family and send them pictures of the painting. What I appreciate about the exhibition is that it allows the viewer to step into the face of war. There is no right or wrong or good or bad. You are just struck by the enormity of the loss.”
For more on the show, visit www.pitzer.edu. For a video segment of coverage by Fox News, visit the News Center.