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"Scarred For Life" Art Exhibit and Talk at Medical Museum to Highlight Veterans

By Katie Berland,
NMHM Public Affairs Specialist

It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. For Ted Meyer, an artist and patient advocate, artwork is priceless. For the past 18 years, Meyer's project, "Scarred for Life: Monoprints of Human Scars," has chronicled the trauma and courage of people who have lived through accidents, heath crises and more. His project continues, featuring the scars of wounded warriors, and the impact their injuries have had on their lives, their families and others.

Meyer will discuss the evolution of his project during the November Medical Museum Science Café – "Scarred For Life" – on November 15, from 6 to 7 p.m., at the National Museum of Health and Medicine. A temporary exhibit of Meyer's "Scarred for Life" artwork will be on display at NMHM from the beginning of November through February 2017.

These scar portraits powerfully evoke the dedication, persistence, and humanity of our service members who have fought and sacrificed for their country. Apart from wanting to tell the stories of America's heroes and their sacrifices, the series also holds personal meaning to him.

"For a long time I didn't want to do scars of veterans," said Meyer. "Other people with closer ties already had veteran/scar art projects going on. Then my nephew came home from three tours in Iraq and committed suicide. His mother asked me to start this series as a way to start a conversation about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and sacrifice."

Meyer will be recalling his recent experiences working with wounded warriors and discussing the artwork he created, as well as the stories that unfolded during their creation. From meeting with the veterans, painting on their scars, and hearing their stories, he will talk about why this series is so important.

"I'm hoping that people seeing the exhibit will see what happens to people who ship out to war, while the other 99% of us stay and home and watch the battle on T.V. – these people walked the walk, and came home scarred and damaged. Most people never think of them once they are home and in rehab. People insist on a strong military, and many want it used often. That is all good, but these people volunteered to be on the front lines. We should acknowledge their sacrifice and realize these same scars will appear on future warriors," Meyer said.

NMHM's Medical Museum Science Cafés are a series of informal talks that connect the mission of the Department of Defense museum with the public. NMHM was founded as the Army Medical Museum in 1862, and moved to its current location in Silver Spring, Maryland, in 2012. NMHM, located at 2500 Linden Lane, Silver Spring, Maryland, is an element of the Defense Health Agency. For more information on upcoming events, please call 301-319-3303, or visit www.medicalmuseum.mil.