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‘Fibers of Defiance’ exhibit discusses political issues in America

By Staff | May 31, 2019

From left, Jayson Miller, of Winchester, and Amar Dhall, of Australia, look at fiber art in the "Fibers of Defiance" exhibit in the War Memorial Building on Friday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — As visitors to town took advantage of a long weekend last Friday through Monday, many of them wandered into a new exhibit in the War Memorial Building. Hosted by the United States Veterans Arts Program, “Fibers of Defiance” featured the fiber art and essays of Army veteran Carol Williams.

“It’s my art and my op-eds,” Williams said. “The op-eds [have been printed in] the Baltimore Sun, The Observer, The Charleston Gazette-Mail and The Journal. The art is totally separate, but I have found that people enjoy reading in small amounts, and they all seem to go together well.”

The art and essays were interspersed throughout the room, with the art being hung on the walls and the essays printed on poster board and prominently displayed between the art pieces. According to Williams, she considers her writing and art to be similar to political cartoons.

“The hangings are a cartoon version, and the op-eds are an illustration of the graphics,” Williams said, in between welcoming visitors to the exhibit.

For a couple of friends, the exhibit was an opportunity to hang out and learn more about the talents and viewpoints of U.S. veterans.

Works by Carol Williams, including pieces of her fabric art and her book, "The Age of Uterine Law," are displayed in the "Fibers of Defiance" exhibit at the War Memorial Building on Friday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

“I’m here spending some time with my friend,” said Amar Dhall, of Australia, who was visiting Shepherdstown with his friend, Jayson Miller, of Winchester. “I’m here for an adventure.

“It’s a cool exhibition. There are a few pieces I like — the insightfulness of the commentary is interesting,” Dhall said, mentioning the exhibit also helped him learn more on his trip. “As a traveler, it’s interesting to come and experience a niche part of the culture of a country.”

According to Miller, although they hadn’t intended to walk into the exhibition, he was glad they checked it out.

“It’s fantastic. It impacted me and calmed me — it’s an interesting way to send a message,” Miller said, mentioning that as an Army veteran, he was glad to see another veteran express her political opinions. “People have a political message, and I find it interesting and vibrant. It’s an expression of our right to do so. I’m a veteran. It’s what I thought I fought for.”

While Williams said she tries to avoid using polarizing terms in her essays, she said her exhibit was intended to speak about one specific political event.

“The 2016 election is my inspiration. I don’t consider Trump to be part of a party,” Williams said. “People tell me that my articles are educational, without being preachy. I avoid at all costs the words ‘liberal,’ ‘conservative,’ Democrat,’ ‘Republican,’ ‘left’ or ‘right.’ I use those words, so that people can judge for themselves how to make the best decision, without the isolation of a gang mentality.

“When I first thought about it, I was a bit afraid, because it did concern me that people would be offended by the lap of traditional Memorial Day sentiment,” Williams said about her exhibit. “If we’re going to send people to defend this country, we should be able to discuss how we defend this country. That goes beyond party lines, because both parties have supported two different wars — Vietnam and Iraq — that were based on a lie.”

To learn more about Carol Williams, visit www.anothercarolwilliams.com or email anothercarolwilliams@gmail.com. More information about the USVAP, visit usvap.org.