USM art exhibition features the children of Iraq

By Colleen Donovan - bio | email

HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM) - It's called "Baghdad Beyond the Wire: Faces from the Fair Garden." It's a look at the lives of US soldiers and Iraqi children that call the rubble filled city home. David Holland is the photographer who capture the images.

Holland said, "I was able to see the living conditions of the people there and I felt very fortunate about how we live here from the conditions over there but the children were always happy."

David Holland was deployed to Iraq in 2008 with the 890th National Guard Unit out of Gulfport, MS. He served as an engineer officer assessing the rebuilding process in Baghdad.

However, Holland also studied sculptural arts at Mississippi State and took several photography classes, developing a love for the art form. He brought his camera with him to Iraq.

"There is one photo that I have that the kids are following us, there are almost 100 kids and they were singing a "chocolatte" song is what we called it. They basically wanted chocolate or candy and it was just a normal thing for us to see and we kind of fell in love with the kids there," said Holland.

Jan Siesling is the Director of the Southern Miss Museum of Art and met Holland at the University. Siesling said for a long time he wanted to have an exhibition that responded to the serious situation in Iraq.

Siesling explained, "And when I saw David's photos I thought, here to the point, I have the fish that I was looking for at my hook. I want these photos and more especially I told him immediately photos in which you can see some interaction between soldiers and children."

Siesling said Holland's work was artistic and had something to say about the war. The collection will be on display for a month at the museum along with another show called "Opera di Donna" that highlights through Artist Claudia DeMonte the role of women in modern society.

Both exhibitions will be shown through March second.

Copyright 2011 WDAM. All rights reserved.