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Bioethics Exhibt Now Showing at the Klahr Center

Posted Jan. 30, 2014, at 1 p.m.

SUM & PARTS, an interdisciplinary documentary sculpture installation joining oral history, figurative sculpture (using body casts of Agent Orange victims), and photographs is now on display at the Michael Klahr Center of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine, located on the campus of the University of Maine at Augusta. The exhibit explores the long-term human and social costs of the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

Sum & Parts features artwork created by New Hampshire-based sculptor Keisha Luce, and Maine photographer Kirk Torregrossa, as well as supporting materials from the War Legacies Project in Vermont and UMA’s Katz Library.

Sum & Parts is presented in conjunction with UMA’s academic theme of bioethics.

Agent Orange-connected disabilities and issues regarding compensation and responsibility are continually debated and contested publicly, but at the same time have deeply personal implications for the victims.

This work is predicated on the assumption that art can effectively communicate and contribute to the discourse of politically and emotionally charged subject matter in an appropriate and meaningful way.

Agent Orange was an herbicide used by the United States Armed Forces during the Vietnam War as a weapon to defoliate the landscape and cripple local food sources. The manufacturing process used to make the herbicide created the carcinogenic and mutagenetic by-product dioxin. An estimated 12 million gallons of Agent Orange was sprayed on 10 percent of Vietnamese land, creating one of the most devastating examples of ecocide, and altering the lives, minds, and bodies of generations.

Currently, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes 11 Agent Orange service-connected diseases in Vietnam Veterans, as well as the birth defect Spina Bifida in the children born to exposed troops. In Vietnam the situation is grave. Populations living in communities where high concentrations of the herbicide were used have extremely high instances of cancer and severe birth defects.

Sum & Parts is on display at the Michael Klahr Center through April 24th, 2014, and special group tours led by HHRC Program Director David Greenham are free and can be scheduled by contacting infohhrc@maine.edu, or calling 207-621-3530. Visit hhrc.uma.edu for more information.

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