Thursday, July 24, 2014

Indelible Imprints: Remembering Soldiers of World War I

by Paul Herbert, Executive Director, First Division Museum at Cantigny Park


In time for the observance of the 100th anniversary of World War I, Dr. Jeff Gusky launches a wonderful photo exhibit, The Hidden World of WWI. The exhibit reveals the folk art of World War I soldiers of all nations left in long-forgotten bunkers, fortifications and caves that Gusky has explored. Included are images from an abandoned root cellar at Cantigny, France, that once was occupied by doughboys of the US First Division. 

 

Former underground city beneath the trenches. Picardy, France.
© 2013, Jeffrey Gusky. All Rights Reserved. Jeffrey Gusky, c/o attorney at P.O. Box 2526, Addison, TX 75001-2526. photos@jeffgusky.com

 

Gusky has discovered simple graffiti by soldiers who recorded their presence and their survival thus far, as well as elaborate evocative sculptures by soldiers who surely spent weeks or months underground. His work is two layers of art – the poignancy of the soldier art itself, and the excellence of his photographic images.

 

Carving reads 'Liberty leaving the world, September, 1917, a soldier of the 278, the disasters of the 20th Century, the sun of my youth'. Picardy, France.
© 2013, Jeffrey Gusky. All Rights Reserved. Jeffrey Gusky, c/o attorney at P.O. Box 2526, Addison, TX 75001-2526. photos@jeffgusky.com

 
“[Soldiers] spent long hours recording indelible expressions of their humanity that are as fresh and powerful today as they were a century ago. The images are sometimes poignant and sometimes sad, but always deeply moving reminders that these men were not strange doughboys from old movies but modern people who were coping with the dehumanizing horrors of war in the same way that we would cope if faced these horrors today.” - Dr. Jeff Gusky


As the First Division Museum at Cantigny begins its observance of this momentous anniversary, this exhibit reminds us of the fundamental humanity of the millions who served on the Western Front. We encourage you to explore The Hidden World of WWI exhibit and remember them.

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