Jo-Ann Hnatiuk, Medivac Nurse
Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 48 inches, 2008-9
In Kandahar. Jo-Ann introduced me to the medevac pilots, gave me a tour of the interior of a Black Hawk helicopter and explained her duties with the military as a medevac nurse. When a soldier is injured in the field, Jo-Ann's role is to maintain life until the wounded returns to base camp.
In June 2008, exactly one year after we first met, Jo-Ann Hnatiuk was in Ottawa to be presented with an award from General Hillier (Canada's top soldier) for her work as an acute care and medevac nurse. Jo-Ann kindly took an afternoon to sit to me at my studio arriving with her complete flying kit in tow. This gave me the opportunity to get to know her a little better and to begin this portrait from life.
Afghanistan: soldiers and poets
by Sandra Renew, 2014
School of Music poet, Canberra, Australia
in response to Jo-Ann Hnatiuk, Medivac Nurse
In deep time, a soldier,
in desert fatigues and combat boots,
hesitates at the cross roads.
Holding the line against evil,
she weighs her choices in the balance.
Voices lift in song, laments rise in cold warning.
Poets cross the line
and are stoned at the crossroads.
Dissent is silenced and answered.
Soldiers and poets know the enormity of war,
and women also know the subsequent failure
of a refusal to hear the clamour
an eagerness to avert the gaze,
when the world takes its battles to the desert.
In this historical moment,
glittering and destructive,
when the world makes war on children
in Kabul and Kandahar,
when the fire comes,
as the hopes of children die,
as the laments of women
wash us in regret and shame,
as the warlords of the West
spin their righteous defiance,
soldiers of the fire subvert poetry to war.