'Sketching the Drawdown' to Provide First-Hand Account of Soldiers in Afghanistan

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The College of Arts + Architecture will present the display “Sketching the Drawdown,” which will feature works on paper by art student and former Marine Rob Bates. The pieces will be exhibited until Friday, Sept. 13, in the UNC Charlotte Center City lobby and front window.

In December 2012, Bates received invitational travel orders to embed with the United States Marines as a freelance war artist on behalf of American Public Media's “The Story.” He spent 10 days in Afghanistan with a battalion of Marines from Camp LeJeune. “Sketching the Drawdown” will present some of the combat artwork that Bates did during and immediately following that journey.

A former Marine who served eight years active duty, including two tours to Afghanistan, Bates began to create strategic combat art while in Afghanistan in 2004, climbing hilltops to sketch the villages below and document the entrance and exit routes and other information necessary for military activity. Upon his second deployment in 2009, he bought a sketchbook and began to document people, places and events. Bates’s sketchbook from that period has been accessioned into the National Museum of the Marine Corps Combat Art Collection, and in April, he won the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s 2013 Col. John W. Thomason Jr. Award for combat artwork.