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Afghan-Influenced Art on Display at American University

Washington D.C.'s Katzen Arts Center -- located on the campus of American University -- recently celebrated an Afghanistan-inspired retrospective this summer. The exhibit was a memorial tribute to William Dutterer, a local artist known for his fascination with conflict, the human face, and masks or mummy wrappings, who died unexpectedly in January. The images you are about to see were inspired – some say provoked – by a recent trip to Afghanistan. VOA's George Dwyer has more.

The exhibit, called "True Dutterer: The Work of William S. Dutterer", focuses, in part, on a series of paintings inspired by the artist's trip to Afghanistan. Heads and faces appear bound and gagged for punishment from one perspective… or bandaged for healing and preservation by another.

Friends, remembering Bill Dutterer after his untimely death, say these paintings are intentionally ambiguous, designed to evoke both joy and sadness and to express freedom and security as well as oppression and intolerance.

In the end, they defy any attempt at explanation by words alone. Instead, they are the pure visual expression of a respected American artist and his personal experience with Afghanistan today.