I feel a special kinship with our military personnel, veterans, and their families. After all, two of my decisions sent them into harm’s way.
— George W. Bush, 2010, Texas Monthly

who we are and what we are doing

My name is Joyce Wagner, and I am the artist currently organizing this project. I deployed to Iraq in 2004 and 2005, which profoundly changed my life. When I was deployed, I often wondered if any of the people who were responsible for the war ever thought about the experiences we were having on the ground there. I never thought they would, so I was fairly astonished to see George W. Bush's portraits.

An article published on Artnet pointed out that the relationship between the former President and his subjects is "complicated," which it is. But so far only one of us has a public voice in that conversation. This collaboration allows us to each turn a mirror back on our former Commander in Chief, examining and articulating our intersecting relationships with one person who had an enormous amount of power and influence over our lives at one time.

This is an independent project that developed from discussions with other veteran artists - on social media, phone calls, and in person - all in response to George W. Bush's recently released book. The desire to respond was strong, so I put together a call to artists with input and support from Erica Slone, Aaron Hughes, and Peter Sullivan. This project would not be possible without the networks of veteran artists that have grown since Bush's wars - especially Warrior Writers, Combat Paper, Veteran Artists, Veteran Art Movement, and Fatigues Clothesline.

Artists have committed to this project and will be submitting work throughout the remainder of the month of June. As we progress, this website will be updated with artist information, previews of work, and any relevant news. Thanks for your interest in this project and in our voices.

Tales of great heroism were being told... at my parents home in Wirt County, West Virginia, it was understaged by media all repeating the story of the “little girl Rambo” from rural West Virginia who went down fighting.
It was not true.
— Jessica Lynch, Congressional Testimony