Poignant exhibit documents war-stricken Guatemala

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (October 26, 2009) – Aaron Johnston brings his touching photo documentary of a war-stricken Guatemalan community to the Milligan College Art Gallery, Nov. 15-Dec. 12. The Art Gallery, which is free and open to the public, is located in Milligan’s Derthick Hall.

Johnston and his wife, Becky, both Milligan alumni, spent the last two years working as human rights accompaniers with Brethren Volunteer Service in Unión Victoria, Guatemala. This resettlement community consists of indigenous Mayans who lived in hiding or on the run from military and paramilitary forces during Guatemala’s civil war. Their job as accompaniers was to live in solidarity with the people, providing a level of security through international presence.

The photo documentary focuses on educating others about the lives of these Mayan community members.

“Much of our time in the community was spent being served and being taught,” Johnston said. “As we grew and found our place in the community, we were able to lend a hand in several community work projects.”

Throughout their stay, the couple participated in several sustainable community development projects in an effort to rebuild both lives and infrastructure. The Johnstons also shared in the struggles and joys of the local population as they grappled with the effects of 36 years of civil war.

“Far more important than any work we did are the transformations that continue to take place as indigenous people are treated respectfully, children are educated, communities are strengthened and relationships developed.” Johnston said.

Johnston earned a degree in business administration and a minor in photography from Milligan. Prior to his work in Guatemala, he was a staff photographer with the Salisbury Daily Times (Salisbury, Md.).

For more information about their work and photography, visit

Posted by on October 26, 2009.