The War Ink Virtual Exhibit

The War Ink Virtual Exhibit

Honoring and Understanding Our Veterans

In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, more than 2.5 million U.S. men and women have been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. Over 7,000 have lost their lives. Those who have returned pay other costs. They struggle to process their wartime experience, recover from profound losses, and reintegrate into civilian life.

War Ink emerged out of a need to recognize veterans' service and sacrifices and to bridge the divide between the veterans and civilian communities. This is both exhibit and forum, using tattoos as a springboard for California veterans to share their stories. Stark, beautiful, disturbing, and often darkly humorous, these tattoos are visual expression of memories and emotions that can be difficult to discuss openly.

An Opportunity for Dialogue 

The War Ink virtual exhibit is a partnership between the Contra Costa County Library, a collective of California's major library systems, and Jason Deitch, a former Army medic and military sociologist. 

Libraries have a duty to provide resources to all citizens, but place special emphasis on serving our returning veterans - a segment of our community that can be overlooked. Libraries also collect the stories that tell us who we are as a society. The experiences of combat veterans returning home have serious cultural significance. They need to be told. 

In contemplating this need, the project creators recognized that the striking visual medium of tattoo art would be the ideal entry point to exploring veterans' experiences. The tattoos document experiences, memorialize fallen comrades, and express emotional response. They capture the attention, making viewers want to learn more and listen longer.


All are welcome to join in the digital viewing of the War Ink exhibit and a discussion. This event will take place on November 1st from 6:00-7:30 pm In the A/B Meeting Room at the Harris Branch. Registration for this event is required and can be done here.

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