Celebrating Women of Courage Exhibition travels to Chicago’s Health in the Arts Gallery

CHICAGO, IL –   The traveling visual art exhibition „Celebrating Women of Courage” will open at the Health in the Arts Gallery, (which is part of the University of Illinois’ Great Lakes Medical Center) located at 845 S. Wolcott, Chicago, IL 60612 on July 14, 2017 with a free public reception from 4:00 pm – 7:30 pm. 312-996-7420. Parking is available across the street from the Center.


The powerful exhibition will be on display through Sept 5, 2017.


The artists in this group exhibition include U.S. Veterans, Native Americans, and cancer survivors.   Exhibiting artists include Andrea Harris, Isis Charise, Lindsay Delaronde, Kathleen Flynn, Katsitsionni Fox, Kathryn Hopkins, Mandy John-Collins, Awenheeyoh Powless, Nancy Scott, and Annamae Taubeneck, to list just a few.   Curated by local Vietnam Veteran/Artist Jerry Kykisz (U.S. Army), the exhibition features photography, paintings, mixed media, poetry and short films of and by

artists from across the country who have overcome extreme difficulties in their lives.


Jerry dedicates this exhibition to Chicago artist Andrea Harris.   Jerry and Andrea began working on this exhibition together several months ago (and Andrea’s artwork is featured in the show).   When the exhibit opened at the Ukranian National Museum in Chicago in March 2017, Andrea would

have no idea that her creation of portraits featuring „women of courage”, would someday include her, as she battled cancer. This exhibition travels on in Andrea’s memory.

An important part of this exhibition is the first-of-its-kind veteran-made memorial, honoring the fallen women who served in various branches of the U.S. military under the department of defense since September 11, 2001.

Twin dog tags, containing a photo, embossed with the name, rank, branch of service and date of casualty for women who have lost their lives serving our country are displayed in a case that is custom built to accommodate a wheelchair.   The Memorial Tribute was designed and hand crafted by R.G. ‘Buz’ Leland, art director of A Touching Tribute, The Long War Memorial, so that those in wheel chairs can wheel at an appropriate height to touch and feel the tags.   As of October 2016, there

were over 2 million women veterans in the United States, and almost 20

percent of women veterans who were involved in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan were diagnosed with PTSD.

“All of the women that died since the 9/11 conflict began are represented here and they’re corresponding, so when the lid closes, their photograph connects with the name, a total of 166 names thus far and since women are more and more joining combat units, we left a little space for future

applicants,” Kykisz said.   „The display case allows for visitors to transfer tracings of the names of the women on paper.”


Also included in this exhibition is art from the women military veterans of the Iroquois Nation, who joined war in defiance of tribal customs, becoming warriors, artists and establishing new traditions.


This exhibition is a salute to the strength and determination of women dealing with difficult situations. At the core of the exhibit is the issue of survival. All of the artwork is related to the courage required

by life changing issues, from struggles with illness to the difficult reality faced by Women Veterans in ongoing battles with post traumatic stress.



Mr. Kykisz is one of the founding members of the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum and a renowned photographer.   In Mr. Kykisz’s experiences at the NVVAM, he often came across female veterans who had important and inspirational experiences. He has kept in touch with many of these women and shares their stories in this visual art exhibition.

Jerry explains, “All of my life I have known courageous women but until recently did not realize how many there were, nor did I fully comprehend the extent of their bravery. The circumstances in today’s media world have exposed me to the scope of the matter.   Young girls seeking an education – face death from terrorists. Mothers seeking safety for their children – endure treacherous journeys. Women warriors risk life and limb in combat for our country.   In the quest for equality and justice, women

have shown the world courage they cannot be denied and must be celebrated. I would like to thank the Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Cave, NY for assisting with this exhibit. Of all the women serving in the armed forces, some 18,000 are native, most with a strong family history of military service. According to longhouse tradition, it is the women who may declare war, while the men go to battle. Breaking the traditional

roles within family and military culture as the first female family member to serve and often the first female member of their unit, takes a lot of courage.”


Podpisy zdjecia:

Andrea Harris – Self Portrait.

Annamae Taubeneck – Self Portait – Mixed Media on Canvas.

The Grace Project – Photo by Isis Charise.

Touching Tribute Display Case.