Combat Paper Project

Deployed by Drew Matott, 2010
Relief print on Combat Paper
17 x 28

The Combat Paper Project
October 8 – December 10
UMBC Special Collections, Albin O. Kuhn Library

UMBC Special Collections will host an exhibition of the Combat Paper Project from October 8 through December 10.

The Combat Paper Project utilizes art making workshops to assist veterans in reconciling and sharing their personal experiences as well as broadening the traditional narrative surrounding service and the military culture.

Through papermaking workshops veterans use their uniforms worn in combat to create cathartic works of art. The uniforms are cut up, beaten into a pulp and formed into sheets of paper. Veterans use the transformative process of papermaking to reclaim their uniform as art and begin to embrace their experiences in the military.

The Combat Paper Project is a moving example of the ways in which art enables military veterans to communicate and process their experiences.  Through art, veterans record observations and express opinions. They explore their relationships with comrades and combatants. They depict suffering and survival.

The Combat Paper Project began almost accidentally. In 2004, Drew Cameron, a veteran of the United States Army, took Drew Mattot’s papermaking workshop at the Green Door Studio in Vermont. Together, the two men designed several artistic projects to engage veterans and draw attention to their experiences. The Combat Paper Project was born in 2007 when Cameron, in an act of performance art, cut up his old uniform and made paper from it.

The Combat Paper Project remains a collaborative effort to engage civilians and veterans in a conversation about war and military service. The Project operates out of a number of studios across the country and Project artists organize workshops to teach veterans the art of papermaking. Works from the project have been exhibited in libraries, museums, and universities.

This selection of works from the Combat Paper Project has been organized for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County by the curators of the Library Gallery and with the generous sponsorship of the Department of American Studies, the Department of History, the Dresher Center for the Humanities, and the Office of Off Campus Student Services.

Special Collections is open Monday through Friday, 12 noon to 4 pm, on Thursday until 8 pm. Admission is free.  The Special Collections Department of the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery collects, houses, preserves, and makes accessible materials that are original, rare, unique, fragile, historical, and archival.

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