by Diane VanDyke
Mention the war in Iraq and images of the military, bombs and insurgents come to mind. Beyond these scenes, however, are the innocent civilians trying to survive and live in a war-torn country.
Leesha Quigg, a Montgomery County Community College student and a U.S. Army Civil Affairs Specialist, recently served a year in the province of Diwaniyah, Iraq. With her Nikon in hand, this single mother, who is also part Native American, captured the simple, yet poignant moments of the Iraqi people—children playing in the streets, students learning in refurbished schools, and widows attempting to rebuild their lives.
Quigg’s profound photographs will be on display during a special exhibition “Photographs from Iraq” from April 6 through April 29 on the second floor above the North Hall Gallery at the West Campus, 16 High St., Pottstown.
During the same time period, the College will be hosting its Sixth Annual West Campus Art Students’ Exhibition and Competition on the first floor of the North Hall Gallery. The Students’ Exhibition will include artwork featuring a variety of subjects and styles in an array of media.
A reception for both exhibitions will begin at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13. The awards ceremony for the Students’ Exhibition will be held at 6 p.m., followed by a gallery talk by Quigg. The exhibitions and reception are free and open to the public.
“Leesha Quigg’s body of work shows an intimate interaction with the Iraqi people during wartime, said exhibition organizer and curator Walter Plotnick, who is a senior lecturer and co-coordinator of Fine Arts at the College. “It goes beyond the front-line images we are used to and takes us into the lives of the civilians doing their best to preserve some kind of normalcy for themselves and their children, helped by Americans like Ms. Quigg.”
Proceeds from the sale of prints and catalogs of the “Photographs from Iraq” exhibition will be used to help fund the College’s Jess Hodges Memorial Veterans Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a veteran student. For Quigg, the exhibit is a way for her to help veterans and share the forgotten civilian component of the Iraqi war.
Montgomery County Community College continuously supports its veteran and military students. Because of its ongoing programs, the College earned the designation of being a “Military Friendly School” for two consecutive years, as determined by G.I. Jobs magazine, a resource publication for veterans and military.
Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed weekends.