Combat Paper NJ, a veteran-led program that uses art as a tool to help veterans reintegrate after their combat experience, is presenting a workshop at Monmouth University from April 16 to 20. During the workshop, veterans will learn to make handmade paper from military uniforms and share their stories through art created on their own Combat Paper. The Combat Paper created during this workshop and workshops at the Printmaking Center of New Jersey will be featured at the Monmouth University Library in an exhibition titled “reCLAIM”. The artwork will only be on display on the night of April 20.
Many young people returning from Iraq and Afghanistan find it difficult to resume to their pre-deployment lives. Combat Paper NJ, based at the Printmaking Center of New Jersey in Branchburg, offers veterans a safe and comfortable haven where they can join a weekly drop-in session on Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. free of charge. During these sessions led by David Keefe and Eli Wright, participants tell their stories and deconstruct military fatigues down into small pieces to beat them into a pulp. The fibers are then reclaimed by turning them into handmade paper. The paper becomes the platform to tell their stories through art by printing images, photos, and writing on the paper. Veterans are also encouraged to take part in the veteran-only writing sessions offered through the Combat Paper NJ workshops which often helps them to start talking about their military experience. The Combat Paper program was recently featured on PBS Newshour, FOX News, and has conducted workshops throughout New Jersey, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital in the D.C. area.
For more information about the Combat Paper NJ Workshop please contact Dr. Robin S. Mama, at 732-571-3543, or you may also visit www.printnj.org/combat-paper and facebook.com/combatpapernj. The workshop is a walk-in session, open to all veterans and there is no cost to participate. The sessions will take place each day from April 16 to 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Erlanger Garden Lawn, except for Wednesday, April 17 when the writing portion of the workshop will be held in room 202 C of the Student Center. The week will culminate with the “reCLAIM” Exhibition and spoken-word reading on Saturday, April 20, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Monmouth University Library.