Western Nevada Collegeâ€™s contemplative exhibition â€œAlways Lost: A Meditation on War,â€is finishing a yearlong tour around the Silver State as part of Nevadaâ€™s Sesquicentennial celebration. After showing in at the Nevada Legislature as well as in Hawthorne and Tonopah this spring, the exhibition heads down to Southern Nevada for its final showings.
The multimedia installation includes the faces and names of the nearly 7,000 U.S. service members who perished in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Local resident Heather Ingalls was instrumental in securing the nationally touring arts and humanities exhibition for Tonopah.
â€œSince 1970 in Tonopah, Jim Butler Days, formerly known as Military Appreciation Days, has been celebrated as a way to acknowledge and remember our past. Having the â€˜Always Lostâ€™ exhibit here at the same time, and especially over Memorial Day, is a way for us to honor those who fought for our freedom.â€
The “Always Lost: A Meditation on War” exhibition brings home the personal and collective costs of war through original poetry by Nevada writers; the 2004 Pulitzer Prize-winning Iraq War combat photograph collection courtesy of The Dallas Morning News; and the Wall of the Dead, faces and names of U.S. military war casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan since September 11, 2001.
Tonopah was the eighth venue during the 2014-2016 NV150 Sesquicentennial statewide tour sponsored by the Nevada Department of Veterans Services (NDVS). The exhibition was selected as an official NV150 Sesquicentennial exhibit by the NV150 Commission.
NDVS Director Kat Miller said, “I saw ‘Always Lost’ as a way to serve veterans by promoting a statewide conversation about veterans’ issues important to Nevada and our nation and to inspire a sense of collective responsibility and respect that drives workforce, educational, and wellness opportunities for veterans in Nevada.”
Called â€œa national treasureâ€ by viewers, â€œAlways Lostâ€ was lauded by U.S. Senators Harry Reid and Dean Heller, who hoped that the exhibition might someday visit Washington, D.C. Carson City Mayor Robert Crowell calls the exhibition â€œour communityâ€™s gift to the nation,â€ and Governor Brian Sandoval recognized it with an official proclamation on Veterans Day, 2014.
â€œAlways Lost: A Meditation on Warâ€ began as a class project at Western Nevada College in 2009, captured the nationâ€™s attention, and has been bringing a message of awareness and unity to communities across the U.S. since 2010.
A second copy of the exhibition is currently touring the state of Minnesota. By mid-2016, â€œAlways Lostâ€ will have been displayed at 50 venues across the country. A comment written in the guest book that travels with the exhibition says: â€œYou could not possibly leave this exhibition the same person you were when you walked in.â€