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'Images from Afghanistan' to open at Coastal art gallery

July 10, 2007

An art exhibition titled "Embedded: Words and Images From Afghanistan" opens Thursday, July 19 at Coastal Carolina University's Rebecca Randall Bryan Gallery. The show, which is free and open to the public, continues through Aug. 31.

The show offers a wide perspective of the war in Afghanistan through digital photographs and oral histories. It features large-scale photographs by Paul Olsen, Coastal art professor who specializes in photography, and extended text by Ken Townsend, a history professor at CCU. The professors were embedded at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan, for two weeks last summer with Major Alan Case, also a Coastal professor and S.C. National Guardsman.

The result of their journey is this exhibition, which conveys the everyday experiences of American and Afghan troops, as well as local men, women and children who live around Kandahar Air Field.

Olsen is the chair of Coastal's Department of Visual Arts where his specialties are graphic arts and photography. He has exhibited his photography in local, state and national venues, and two of his photographs are held in the collection of the Vietnam Veterans Art Museum in Chicago. He was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army and combat veteran of the Vietnam War, served in the Army Reserves and the U.S. Army National Guard.

Townsend, professor of history at CCU, specializes in 20th century U.S. history with a concentration in military affairs. His book, "World War II and the American Indian," was published in 2000 by the University of New Mexico Press.

A closing reception will be held Thursday, Aug. 30 from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. During July, gallery hours are Monday though Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to noon. In August, the gallery resumes regular hours, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery is located in the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts. For more information, call gallery director Cynthia Farnell at 234-3466.