This is a press release submitted to the Las Vegas Sun. It has not been verified or edited by the Sun.
Female Combat Veteran Demonstrates Healing War Trauma Via Fine Art
Published on Mon, Apr 15, 2013 (1:56 p.m.)LAS VEGAS, NV -- Michelle Wilmot, a female Iraq War veteran who served in direct combat operations with Marine infantry units in Iraq’s dangerous Anbar province in 2004-2005, has found in art her coping mechanism for healing war trauma. Painting, sketching, sculpting 3D pieces, and writing have served as her own personal releases, providing catharsis and healing which she believes ultimately saved her from becoming a statistic.
On Thursday, April 25th from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m., the Act Night Club at Palazzo will be featuring Michelle Wilmot’s collection of paintings and sculptures as part of their exhibit, “Marvel.” Raw: Natural Born Artists, a nationally-based independent arts organization founded by artists for artists, scouted Wilmot for this event in effort to bring another dimension of local talent to an already diverse exhibit. “Marvel” features a variety of Las Vegas-based artists, in a one-night arts extravaganza of fine arts, live music, performance arts and fashion.
“After Iraq,” Wilmot says. “I felt a tremendous amount of pressure.” “Returning from a year of seeing deaths, injuries and some of the most glorious and hideous aspects of humankind in an uncensored montage before my eyes,” reintegration became a nightmare, she says. A full-time college student, Wilmot felt that many were “judging me for what I had done (in their minds) without even asking me about it, as well as insulted my experience using gender-related or racial remarks. I felt dangerously close to the breaking point and art, undoubtedly, saved my life.”
After working with other veterans as well as severely mentally ill clients and encouraging them to express themselves through artistic, literary, culinary, musical, and other creative means, Wilmot saw the level of positive, dramatic changes in well-being that were being achieved once people connected with artistic expression. She believes that this level of personal transformation and healing is greater than what can be achieved strictly through prescription medications or substance abuse; which poison the system and keep people from finding their own successful paths to healing.
As a result of art, Wilmot says, “I have reclaimed my life one artistic step a time, and continued to find my way out of a personal abyss by refusing to be a victim of trauma. Instead, I am an artist – who also happens to be a survivor.” Wilmot is also the author of a chapter on women warriors and reintegration in “War Trauma and its Wake,” published by Routledge (2012), and her work is available for purchase at TheDesertWarrior.com.
The Desert Warrior
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