“Coming Home: Journey, Community, Dialog” is a project conceived and developed by artist and activist Brookie Maxwell.
Maxwell’s “Journey” began in 2011. She traveled to military bases and hospitals, doing artist residencies, researching, and recording stories. She interviewed and drew portraits of hundreds of wounded warriors, veterans, active duty soldiers, and their families. Throughout this process, Maxwell saw the importance of creating a better community of understanding and support between service members and civilians. She designed Coming Home as a new public space for talking, listening, and healing together.
Maxwell’s emphasis on “Community” came after a long-term study of the writings of Dr. Jonathan Shay and Dr. Jim Munroe, who stress the importance of community support for soldiers’ post deployment reintegration as well as healing PTSD.
In 2014 Maxwell directed a CASEVAC (Casualty Evacuation) Reenactment, a workshop and private performance, with participation of Army medics and wounded warriors. Maxwell recorded soldiers’ movement, emotions, thoughts, and stories, later creating a beautiful collection of “Lazarus” drawings.
The exhibition of these drawings, along with COL Greg Gadson’s photography and a sculptural installation made with HESCO Bastion, is designed to open the hearts and minds of viewers, after which viewers are encouraged to participate in “Dialog,” a space for connection, understanding, and healing.
"Coming Home" Project is currently under the leadership of Guzal Latypova and Ellis Maxwell, with ongoing support of Lieutenant General John S Caldwell (Ret.), Colonel Greg Gadson (Ret.), Dr. Grace Bochenek, Kirby Wilcox, Lieutenant Colonel Faith Junghahn, Janette Sadik-Khan, and Colonel Denton Knapp.