Although 500 miles away, Carol Maura Poshka keenly felt the horror when a lone gunman attacked two military centers in Chattanooga on July 16, killing five men.
An artist in Paxton, Ill., she responded in the best way she knew how: Create something.
So she put together what she calls a "narrative collage" and titled it "A Requiem Moment for Five Empty Windows."
"Once (the shooting) happened, I thought, 'How do we depict the loss? It was so crushing, so horrible," Poshka, 64, says from her home. "I am making art to honor and mark this tragic event. I hope it allows for reflection and some help to the families and those in Chattanooga and beyond who were impacted."
In the center of the piece are four empty, open windows. Just above that sits a man staring out the window. The separation of the windows came about because Poshka created the collage immediately after the shooting, which instantly killed four Marines — Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Lance Cpl. Squire "Skip" Wells, Sgt. Carson Holmquist and Staff Sgt. David Wyatt — then she had to go back two days later and revamp it when Navy U.S. Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith died from his wounds.
"I reworked it, added the window with the man up close, to examine the emptiness/loss more," says Poshka, who has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, South Korea, as well as the Swope Art Museum in Terre Haute, Ind., and the Art Institute of Chicago.
"Requiem" also includes images of blooming cherry trees, a musician, light reflecting on water and the Sphinx, among many others.
"Everyone who views my narrative collage series will have their own impressions and experience," she says. "As with life, I can really only do what I can, have my say. I'm powerless over others."