In an era in which instant communication is commonplace, the art of written communication is still valued by many. From handwritten letters to thought-out emails, people still find ways to express their most inner thoughts about love. The “Letters of Love” exhibition is a two-part exhibition that explores how people express love via written and visual form. It will be held on Feb. 14 at the Research House for Asian Art at 3217 S. Morgan St. Chicago, from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
“This two-part installation digs deep into the emotions that are poured over letters to loved ones – whether past, present or future. This is done through love letters from the public, as well as letters written by soldiers during times of war. Alongside the letters, there will be displayed 50+ works of art varying in mediums, content, and style,” said exhibition curator Charlotte Lin.
David Thompson, president of the North Park University Veterans Club, is one of the veterans who will take part in the exhibit. He has submitted 10 letters that are addressed to his mom, his father, aunt and family. “After I fought in Iraq and army, I found that my mom had three months to live and she had cancer. These letters are between me and my mom, recent memories of her, the special relationship we had and also the good times with my dad,” said Thompson who is thrilled that veterans are supported in such a way.
“I would say that having an opportunity to be honored in such a way, that my letters will be included in this exhibit, speaks volumes for me. People that are civilian are organizing an event that supports veterans, having this support is the biggest deal in the world,” said Thompson.
The exhibit will consist of two parts. The first part is the opening of the love letters, which will include the soldier letters. “On bloody battles fields fought soldiers that carried heavy burden on their shoulders but also on their hearts. Times when hope was lost and worn, these soldiers sought an escape, a light in the darkness. The idea that a loved one was waiting for him to come home may have been the last thing keeping him going. In the ditches when chaos was collapsing in and there were only a few moments to spare, what message would this soldier convey in a letter not knowing if there was a tomorrow?” reads the description of the exhibit.
The second part of the exhibit will consist of a collection of art from local, international, young, old, gay, straight, male, female and multi-racial artists, who will portray their interpretation of love via visual form.
According to Matthew Silva, there are 60 works of art that have been collected, as well as 40 letters. “The goal is to have at least 100 letters,” said Silva.
“With the written and hand-made pieces that we gathered, the exhibit shows the different perspectives of love, not necessarily positive. Even though things can be difficult, torturous or heartbreaking, love is still a beautiful emotion, according to us [the curators],” said Lin. “We hope that the exhibit serves as a tool for a person to reflect and better understand the ways people think about love, as well as examine their own thoughts and behavior.”
For additional information on the exhibit and updates go to: facebook.com/lettersofloveexhibition.