“Crucifixion / Nam” 1981 (Charcoal & Lithographic Crayon on Paper)

Once, in Vietnam during the early morning hours, while our unit was not far from our rear base, LZ Ross, we could see the compound coming under attack. The area was lit up with tracer rounds, pop-up flares, and incoming fire. We were told to move in on foot and intercept the enemy. It was dawn when we reached Ross. The enemy was gone, except for the dead stacked along the road. In the compound, our dead were in bags waiting to be lifted out on choppers.

Years later, as I recalled this incident, I chose to portray it as a spiritual reckoning. Bodies are lifted into the sky in the hazy background, but the focus of attention is on a tattered camouflage shirt, perhaps that of a dead GI, that’s stretched across and nailed into a piece of wood. The face of Christ is inside the shirt, so that it has become a shroud. Concertina and barbed wire crisscross the site.

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