As i walked by Art 101 yesterday in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a large crowd in the small space drew my attention. The gallery is currently exhibiting Beyond the Uniform: An Exhibition of Combat Paper. The project began in 2007 as a way for veterans to reengage with civilian life and start a dialogue about our collective responsibility in war.

Through papermaking workshops, veterans use their uniforms worn in service to create works of art. The uniforms are cut up, beaten into a pulp and formed into sheets of paper. Participants use the transformative process of papermaking to reclaim their uniforms as art and express their experiences with the military.


“Broken Rifle” by Jon Hausrath


“Deployed” by Drew Matott


“Heaven’s Ascent” by Drew Matott and Drew Cameron


“Solace” by Margaret Mahan


“Stolen Youth” by Drew Cameron and Drew Matott


“Vortex” by Mike Blake


“We are all free now” by Drew Cameron

I had never heard of Combat Paper. But I was blown away not only by the art itself, but the literal layers of context behind it. It’s art as homecoming, provocative discussion, insight into “real” war and therapy representing a transformation from warrior to artist. If you get the opportunity to see an exhibit, I highly recommend it. You can learn more about the program at the Combat Paper Project.