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10/17/2013 1:04:00 PM
Paintings on war's trauma to be on display
A series of paintings by Carolyn Wilhelm express the anguish of life after war.
A series of paintings by Carolyn Wilhelm express the anguish of life after war.

MILWAUKIE — Around the time of the first Gulf War, Oregon artist Carolyn Wilhelm exhibited a series of paintings about how a soldier heals from the trauma of battle. The pieces caused a stir in Portland, Berkeley and Detroit. It's with mixed emotions that Wilhelm has revived the series for an exhibit where she now works: The Franciscan Spiritual Center in Milwaukie. Wilhelm, a Quaker who became Catholic, is excited to show art, but sad that soldiers' pain is still a relevant topic.

The Soldier Series Paintings: The Soul's Journey Back from Violence will be on display at the center, in the former convent at St. John the Baptist Parish, Oct. 25-27. The exhibit will be open Friday 7 p.m.-9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. On Sunday at 3 p.m., a panel including a Vietnam veteran will discuss efforts to help people heal from violence through the spiritual path.

Wilhelm, a member of Holy Family Parish in Southeast Portland, says the paintings — which are not for children — are about spiritual healing, which comes in stages. Her message is linked to the great Judeo-Christian story and is about moving from inner slavery of violence to freedom.  

Filmmaker Luigi Germano made a documentary about Wilhelm's work on the series. That will be shown at 7 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday for a cost of $20 per person.

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