Iamuuri, a composer, sound recordist, and audiovisual artist, was selected as the artist-in-residence for RethinkVets, an initiative created by the Heinz Endowments to serve veterans throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania. Over the next two years, Iamuuri and members of the post-9/11 veteran community will develop a creative project that challenges “misconceptions about the veteran community.”
Iamuuri was chosen by representatives from RethinkVets and the Pittsburgh Office of Public Art (OPA) following a nationwide call for artists in February 2019.
“The model of the artist in the public realm residency deeply embeds artists within the communities that they are engaging with, and results in projects that neither the artist nor the community could have envisioned on their own,” states OPA director, Sallyann Kluz, in a press release. “The selection committee, and particularly the veterans on the committee, was excited to see the range of Ricardo’s work and the ways in which he challenges preconceived notions of identity. We are excited to see how this collaboration develops, and what both the artist and the veterans take away from the experience.”
The project would bring attention to a growing population, as RethinkVets estimates that 5,800 new veterans settle in the region each year. Megan Andros, senior program officer for veterans at the Heinz Endowments, hopes the public art project “helps spur a community dialogue about our region’s military and veteran community and inspires deeper interaction with the population.”
By working to understand and artistically communicate the struggles veterans face, Iamuuri believes the residency will encourage him to leave his “visions at the threshold and enter at the risk of seeing and creating art beyond my own expectations.”
“I believe everyone has a story and it will be my job to turn up the volume,” Iamuuri states in a press release.