'Courage and Strength' opens in September as museum officials reach out to the military community

HONOLULU -- The Honolulu Museum of Art will present the contemporary photography exhibition "Courage and Strength: Portraits of Those Who Have Served," here, Sept. 6-Feb. 24, 2013.

The exhibition features work by Nina Berman, Ashley Gilbertson, Peter Hapak, Tim Hetherington, and Suzanne Opton. These artists explore the contradictions of war through powerful images that provide an intimate, personal look at American men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hetherington, co-director of the award-winning documentary "Restrepo," was killed while on assignment in Libya in 2011.

Over the last decade, the world has seen in the media thousands of images of war, mostly in the context of the theater of combat and its aftermath in Afghanistan and Iraq. Much less covered are images that convey the stories of returning and deceased Soldiers and war's long-lasting repercussions on their everyday circumstances and those of the survivors of the dead.

"The photographs on view do not depict the tension and horror of combat, but rather offer glimpses into the minds and hearts of service members in quiet moments during and after their tours of duty," said James Jensen, exhibition curator.

"Some of the images are accompanied by texts written by the portrait subjects describing their experiences and feelings, and reflecting on the effects of war for them and those involved in their lives," Jensen said. "The subjects in the images have had as important a role in shaping the works as the photographers who took them. Their willingness to sit, lie down, stand and bare themselves heightens our attentiveness and leads the eye and mind to a deeper, richer place, where we might not otherwise linger."

The exhibition is part of the Honolulu Museum of Art's effort to deepen its relationship with Hawaii's military community. The museum is participating in Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense that offers all active-duty military personnel and their families free admission to the museum Memorial Day--Labor Day.

The museum is extending this free admission policy for military personnel through Feb. 24.

'Courage and Strength' Photo Exhibition

Runs Sept. 6-Feb. 24, 2013, at the Honolulu Museum of Art, 900 South Beretania St., Honolulu. Call 808-532-8700.