Benjamin Mack-Jackson has spent more than eight years sharing the stories of war veterans as a means of preserving the lessons of history. To further that mission, the Rollins College student spent the summer documenting the struggles of the people of Ukraine.
“I believe the rise of Russian nationalism over the past 20 years under Vladimir Putin’s leadership has many similarities to the rise of other fascists and nationalist leaders throughout history,” he told the32789. “I think this invasion is a testament to that; it’s the largest European war since WWII, which is mind-boggling to someone who studies history with the hopes of preventing future wars.”
Mack-Jackson’s photographs are now accompanying an Orlando Museum of Art exhibit that sheds more light on the fighters, survivors, and casualties of the conflict.
“Relentless Courage: Ukraine and the World at War,” presented by the Ginsburg Family Foundation, is a collection of work by front-line photojournalists that offers a compelling and heartbreaking perspective of the conflict. Mack-Jackson was invited to share 19 of his photographs in a personal exhibit, titled “Ukraine’s Greatest Generation: Courage in the Midst of Chaos.”
The faces of courage, sadness and death that comprise the exhibits are meant to keep the ongoing war in the public eye; another mission that Mack-Jackson hopes to continue.
He previously spoke to the32789 about his work and his nonprofit, the WWII Veterans History Project. Here, he discusses his participation in the OMA exhibit and his plans to return to Ukraine.
• How did you become involved with the exhibit? Orlando Museum of Art and the Ginsburg Foundation approached me about my work in Ukraine and gave me the opportunity to put together an exhibit in conjunction with Relentless Courage.
• How did you choose the work you submitted? I chose photographs that best represented the people I met and places I went, but also ones that I felt conveyed the feelings, emotions, and thoughts that I experienced while traveling across the war-torn country.
• Is the exhibit scheduled for any other venues? At the moment, I am not sure of any solid plans for future locations, but I hope people will notice the importance of this exhibit and work to bring it to their town, city, state, or country.
• What do you hope this exhibit will achieve? I hope these photographs will help inspire and educate future generations about the horrors of war with the hopes of a more peaceful future.
• Do you have plans to return to Ukraine? I’m currently working to raise funds to continue my work in Ukraine and hope to return in the near future.
“Relentless Courage: Ukraine and the World at War” and “Ukraine’s Greatest Generation: Courage in the Midst of Chaos” will run until March 26, go to OMART.org for more information.
The museum advises guests that the exhibit is a graphic depiction of the violence, injuries, and deaths that have resulted from the war. Content may not be suitable for all audiences.