Ralph Sirianni's War

Ralph Sirianni's War Section - Page One


This picture was used for the cover of the book Soldier's Heart
Survivors' View of Combat Trauma (Hansel, Steidle, Zaczek, & Zaczek, Sidran Press). 
Some of the above images can be found within the book in black and white.

"Crucifixion / Nam" 1981 (Charcoal & Lithographic Crayon on Paper)
This piece portrays an actual experience of the artist:
"Once, in Vietnam during the early morning hours, while our unit was not far from our rear base, LZ Ross, we could see the compound coming under attack.  The area was lit up with tracer rounds, pop-up flares, and incoming fire.  We were told to move in on foot and intercept the enemy.  It was dawn when we reached Ross.  The enemy was gone, except for the dead stacked along the road.  In the compound, our dead were in bags waiting to be lifted out on choppers.
Years later, as I recalled this incident, I chose to portray it as a spiritual reckoning.  Bodies are lifted into the sky in the hazy background, but the focus of attention is on a tattered camouflage shirt, perhaps that of a dead GI, that's stretched across and nailed into a piece of wood.  The face of Christ is inside the shirt, so that it has become a shroud.  Concertina and barbed wire crisscross the site."
"Suicide" ca. 1982 (graphite & charcoal) 36" x 24"The broken image reflects the anguish in one's heart before taking his own life.
According to the artist, "It was done in about the time it takes to squeeze the trigger.  It's one of the fastest pieces I've ever put together.  Two fellow employees of the Buffalo Veteran's Administration Hospital, both Vietnam vets, killed themselves within a short time of each other.  Their deaths inspired this piece."In the Collection of the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum

Back to Section 1

Back to Arts of War

Back to A Visit To Vietnam

Back to the Vietnam Veterans Home Page