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Virtual Artist Talk with Aaron Hughes

April 23 11:00 am - 12:00 pm


Photo from Poetry Despite/Music Despite (Eternal War Requiem) performance at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in 2019.

Virtual Artist Talk with Aaron Hughes

Saturday, April 23 at 11:00 AM | FREE

Register: Click Here

Poetry Despite/Music Despite (Eternal War Requiem) connects artists across time and place, from World War I to the “Global War on Terror,” from the US to Iraq. These connections acknowledge the recurring traumas of war and, conversely, the human connections that happen despite the pain.

The project emerged out of Hughes’ personal reflections on Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem (originally written for the 1962 consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral), the nine poems by World War I poet Wilfred Owen featured in the War Requiem, and maestro Karim Wasfi’s “spontaneous compositions,” solo cello performances held at sites of bombings in Iraq. These works, along with Hughes’ own memories of being a U.S. soldier in Iraq in 2003-2004, resonate with each other. They facilitate connections between the current state of endless war and its historical antecedents. Aptly, Wasfi has said of his cello performances: “I was connecting everything: death, spirits, bodies, life.” Hughes was inspired to attempt something similar.

Aaron Hughes is an artist, curator, organizer, teacher, anti-war activist, and Iraq War veteran. Working through an interdisciplinary practice rooted in drawing and printmaking, Hughes works collaboratively to create meaning out of personal and collective trauma, transform systems of oppression, and seek liberation. He develops projects that often utilize popular research strategies, experiments with forms of direct democracy, and operates in solidarity with the people most impacted by structural violence. Hughes works with a range of art and activist groups, including Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, About Face: Veterans Against the War, emerging Veteran Art Movement, and Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project.

More about the project here.

The Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project is a nonprofit founded in 2007 that builds bridges of communication, understanding, and support between Iraqis and Americans. After decades of war, sanctions and occupation, we are a space for conversations, learning, and action. Learn more at


April 23
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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Rochester Art Center
30 Civic Center Drive SE
Rochester, MN 55904 United States
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30 Civic Center Drive SE, STE 120
Rochester, MN 55904