The result of a public art project involving veterans culminated this week at Studio 1398 on Granville Island.
The last of three performances of Contact! Unload, directed by UBC professor George Belliveau, takes place this evening (May 2).
The production incorporates both veterans and community artists to illustrate the challenges that some veterans face as they return to civilian life, and some of the steps taken to help those who are struggling.
The Man/Art/Action project also involved the creation of a tribute pole comprised of two coffins.
Vancouver artist Foster Eastman and the group of Afghanistan veterans who carved the tribute have been raising the totem at the beginning of each night’s production.
Marv Westwood and David Kuhl appear as themselves in the play, leading a group therapy program, like those delivered by the Veterans Transition Network.
Kuhl said the production exposes "the invisible wounds" of veterans.
"I think that the whole portrayal here is taking the inside story that all of these guys hold and inviting the audience to understand," he said.
Both the theatre production and the art project are being studied as methods of healing for veterans. Kuhl said researchers will now talk to participants to determine the benefits of the project.
He also hopes to continue looking at various art forms like photography, art, drawing, and sculpture as different avenues for continuing the process of repair.
"There’s no silver bullet—we wish there was," Kuhl said. "But we need as many different modalities of intervention and addressing the wounds as possible."