“Veterans’ tattoos document experiences and share untold stories. War Ink is a virtual exhibit that combines original video, photography and audio interviews to present the stories of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in their own words.
The War Ink virtual exhibit is a partnership between the Contra Costa County Library, a collective of California’s major library systems, and Jason Deitch, a former Army medic and military sociologist.
Libraries have a duty to provide resources to all citizens, but place special emphasis on serving our returning veterans — a segment of our community that is often overlooked. Libraries also collect the stories that tell us who we are as a society. The experiences of combat veterans returning home have serious long-term cultural significance. They need to be told.
The project creators recognized that the striking visual medium of tattoo art would be the ideal entry point to exploring veterans’ lives. The tattoos document experiences, memorialize fallen comrades, and express emotional response. They capture our attention, making viewers want to learn more and listen longer.