Part of Apr 2013 by

Desert Hallucinogens by Michelle Wilmot at The Desert Warrior dot com

Michelle Wilmot, The Desert Warrior, Practices Art as Combat Healing

What do you call an Iraq woman combat veteran – yes, Virginia, there are some – who speaks seven languages, has been featured in a documentary and a book, paints and sculpts, and is exhibiting her artwork for the first time at the Palazzo in Las Vegas on April 25th? You might be tempted to call her a “marvel” – and “Marvel” is conveniently the name of the show – but she’s Michelle Wilmot, and it’s fairly clear that she’s an indomitable force of nature, also quite aware of the cathartic nature of visual art for veterans such as herself. (See her website at TheDesertWarrior.) The show takes place, Thursday, April 25th from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m., at the Act Night Club at the Palazzo in Las Vegas, NV.

Wilmot served with the Army from 1998-2006, and was deployed to Iraq, where she became part of “Team Lioness,” an experiment in pairing women service members with Marine infantry units in the explosive Anbar province. “Lioness,” a documentary about this program, makes it clear that women like Wilmot were “there for the action, but left out of the history.”

#4 Baraa’a (Iraq), by Michelle Wilmot

It’s only one of the injustices Wilmot has experienced, as ethnic, gender and anti-military jibes have been directed her way, but she’s managed to channel her uniqueness, and her story, into visual art. She also knows it was central to her healing. “After Iraq,” Wilmot says. “I felt tremendous 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. “I felt dangerously close to the breaking point and art, undoubtedly, saved my life.”



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