Story and Photos by Stephanie Hall | Contributing Writer
If you have walked through the KUC in the past two weeks, you might have noticed photos and artwork featured in the lounge area on the second floor. Those images are the photos, drawings and paintings of two Vietnam veterans in their art exhibit “Vietnam Then & Now.”
First shared in Monthhaven Arts and Cultural Center back in June of 2021, Vietnam veterans David Wright and Chuck Creasy are the two artists who collaborated on this exhibition. It is now being exhibited through MTSU’s Military and Veterans Center.
David Wright’s artwork and photographs were taken back during his time in the war. He sketched fellow soldiers, along with Vietnamese villagers and landscapes. He also photographed the people he saw with a small Japanese Petri 35mm camera.
“It was a long time ago in a faraway land, but all of these drawings I did, I either did in country while I was there in ‘64 and ‘65 or after I got back home from photographs that I made. And there of all the people I encountered. There all based on my experience,” Wright said.
Chuck Creasy served during the Vietnam war and went to art school afterwards. It wasn’t till his children took him back to Vietnam that he photographed and painted the people and sights that he saw. For him, it was a therapeutic experience to see Vietnam rebuilt and flourishing.
“My daughter and youngest son took me back in 2018, which was something I wanted to do since I got back from Vietnam in ‘68. I just wanted to see how the country had faired and the people. It truly was amazing, I was just blown away,” Creasy said.
The two have been friends since 1969. However, it wasn’t until Creasy brought over a painting, he made of his Vietnam trip that the two spoke about their time in the Vietnam war. It was also the first time that Wright had shown anyone but his family the sketches he made during his service.
“I came back all fired up. I’m not a writer so I couldn’t write about it. So, I started painting people and places I saw while I was there. I took one of my paintings up to David’s studio and he said, ‘This is great Chuck, we outta do a two man show.’ And so, we came up with ‘Then and Now’,” Creasy said.
For them, they hope for people to see that there is a story behind every photo and artwork of the Vietnam War and how Vietnam has grown since then.
“It’s more of a history show than it is an art show. What you’re looking at there is a record of what I did while I was over there, the people I met. And Chuck, what he did when he went back. So, you got 2018 and 1965 and the difference between them,” Wright said.
The exhibit will be up till the end of December on the second floor of the KUC. During your small breaks of sanity between finals, stop by and see the exhibit for yourself.
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