Article about Chris Vongsawat in Crain’s Magazine


Pictures worth a thousand tours

Soldier finds real Afghanistan

“From behind the bulletproof glass of his armored vehicle, Afghanistan became a jumble of targets and threats. The countryside, the mountains, the people all vanished in the haze of war.”

Read more:


Published in: on March 24, 2009 at 4:05 am  Leave a Comment  


For those of you who are interested in purchasing works in the exhibition, please find the main exhibition pricelist attached. Sale proceeds that are donated to IVAW are tax deductible. For further information email Chere and Maya at


The salon exhibition pricelist will be posted tomorrow.

Published in: on March 16, 2009 at 3:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Images from the Reception

Nobuho Nagasawa, Clear Tooling

Nobuho Nagasawa, Clear Tooling

 For those of you who were unable to attend the reception on March 7th, you can see some images on Flickr, thanks to Chris Vongsawat:

Lily Hughes Dance Performance

Lily Hughes Dance Company

Published in: on March 11, 2009 at 7:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Noteworthy mentions

Artnet Magazine:

Ecumenical Women, artist and activist Mary Button:

PhotoSnobbery Blog:

Published in: on March 11, 2009 at 1:41 am  Leave a Comment  


The artists and performers in this exhibition show how deeply all of us have been affected by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Consider the American war veteran who cuts up his uniform turning it into delicate and fragile paper on which he makes art, or the Iraqi artist who mourns the burning of the precious ancient art history book collection in Baghdad by collecting and displaying its remaining ashes. Consider further, the performance of an Iraqi artist living in a self confined gallery space who invites strangers to virtually shoot at him—an image from the “enemy” country, or the quiet respite of a photograph capturing an old man laying out his prayer rug in the green countryside far from the blight of urban battlefields.

Even outside of the war zone, we suffer. And so we count – we count casualties and losses by drawing little black figures or inserting transparent pegs; we count warplanes by delicately folding and then hanging them; we count stitches in our knitting into which we embed messages of peace; we count pills needed to dull the pain of watching rows of tombstones on our TV sets; we count letters to dead soldiers and then tear them up; we count the days these two wars have lasted. And continue to count.

The artists convey a broad range of reactions to the two wars: grief, rage, despair, cynicism, and even compassion.  We thank everyone involved in 2,191 Days and Counting who have contributed their work and their time, reminding us that together we count, we remember, we record and we create beginnings out of endings.

Maya Joseph-Goteiner and Chere Krakovsky

Published in: on March 8, 2009 at 1:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Aaron Hughes Performance

If you are unable to join us tonight, consider stopping by Powerhouse Arena on Thursday, March 19th between 1-4pm for a performance called Tea by Aaron Hughes.



tea |tē|


a hot drink made by infusing the dried, crushed leaves of the tea plant in boiling water.

dialogue |ˈdīəˌläg; -ˌlôg|

a discussion between two or more people or groups, esp. one directed toward exploration of a particular subject or resolution of a problem
TEA – chai – الشاي
The day would end. The sun would set.
In the motor pool where we all slept the third country nationals, hadjis, would role out a rug, pull out a hot plate, gather round, and warm water to make tea. Tea that was always generously offered despite…
Tea is an ongoing dialog that traverses a variety of landscapes. From the tea sipped on in this installation, to a quaint coffee shop in the Lower Eastside, to a cage in Guantanamo Bay, to a motor pool in Iraq; tea is not only a favored drink but a shared moment that transcends cultural divides and systems of oppression. That is not meant as a clichéd utopian statement but as a reminder of our shared humanity that is so often over looked. Just as our connection to the dehumanization, death, and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan is over looked. Tea creates a space to remember these connections and to share the repressed traumas of war.

The project consists of three parts the installation, the performance, and an ongoing growing dialog. The installation is composed of all the needed materials to make, sit, enjoy, and commune over strong black tea. The performances consist of a series of monologues/stories shared by activists, Iraqis, veterans, and myself that reflect on the traumas of war. These monologues and the ephemera of the installation are designed to foster and grow the dialogue the third element aspect of the project.

One of the books I read was called “We Were Each Others Prisoners.” It was an oral history and one of the detainees that was locked up in Michigan fell in love with an American. They even got married after the war. It’s funny that Chris is from Michigan and that he fell in love in one of those detainee camps too…

How to Become a Concentration Camp Guard Without Even Trying… that’s what Chris said about it all.
I know Chris liked working night shifts, because whenever they were awake, He wanted to apologize to them. When they were sleeping, He didn’t have to worry about it. He could just walk up and down the blocks all night long.
He fell in love… He missed the cups. The detainees were only allowed to have Styrofoam cups, and they would write and draw all over them.
Chris was not familiar with Muslim culture… none of us were… are…
but he learned that they don’t draw the human form, maybe not any creatures, but they draw a lot of flowers. They would cover the cups with flowers.
Then he would have to take them. It was a ridiculous process. It was as if they were writing some kind of secret message that they were somehow going to throw into the ocean, that would get back to somebody — he would send them to our military intelligence and they would just look at these things and then throw them away.

Chris loved those little cups…

I asked Chris what he would draw on the cups if he were going to serve Arabic tea in them… He said, “I’d draw flowers for sure… Islamic designs… its tuff to say.

Published in: on March 7, 2009 at 2:22 am  Leave a Comment  


I have just realized that Chere and I are not mentioned anywhere in the blog as of yet. If you have questions, would like images for press, contact information for any artists please email us at:

Many thanks,

Maya Joseph-Goteiner & Chere Krakovsky (co-curators)


For inquiries about the performance please contact our cabaret curator Safa Samiezade-Yadz at and for more information about the video segment of the exhibition please contact our video curator Ardele Lister at

Published in: on March 5, 2009 at 1:56 am  Leave a Comment  

Time Out Magazine, ArtCat and more

Check out page 33 of Time Out Magazine, ArtCat’s listing: , Pixcetera: , Photo District News:

Page 33 of Time Out Magazine

Page 33 of Time Out Magazine

If you are in the neighborhood stop by tomorrow, 2,191 Days and Counting is mounted and we are gearing up for the Saturday reception and performance. Festivities begin at 6pm, with beer, wine and food from Agata and Valentina, then DJ Scientific will be on from 7:30-8pm, following from 8-10pm Safa Samiezade-Yazd will MC a cabaret that includes beatboxing, arias, poetry, monologues and more.

For those of you interested in building an art collection, we have works ranging from a selection of $100 pieces on the Salon wall to large scale paintings, photographs, and sculptures. All proceeds will be donated to the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) Winter Soldier Project inspired by the courageous Vietnam veterans who came forward in 1971 to testify at the original Winter Soldier investigation. IVAW is collecting soldiers’ firsthand accounts of both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All veterans are invited to give testimony, regardless of their politics. The project will provide them with legal and mental health support. Members of IVAW will be present at the reception.

Published in: on March 4, 2009 at 4:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cabaret Lineup: March 7th, 8-10pm at Powerhouse Arena, Brooklyn

Inspired by the narrative from Winter Soldier, the historic event during which soldiers testified about their personal experiences, Safa Samiezade-Yazd has organized a cabaret to showcase the artistic and performance community’s response to the continuing Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. In the tradition of European literary-political cabaret, the performance will include works of social critics — bringing together the diverse aspects of artistic expression — from politics and society, into literature, theater, music, art and dance.

Safa Samiezade-Yazd- MC, Performer, and Stage Manager



Aaron Glantz – Author of Winter Soldier

Jose Vasquez – IVAW NY Chapter president



Family Opera Initiative – performed by Rebecca Fay (vocal) and Jenny Lin (piano)

Lilly Hughes – Choreographed Dance Piece

Neel Murgai – Musician and Poet

Suzanne Bradbeer- Playwright, monologue performed by Sandra DeLuca

Lanna Joffrey- Playwright and Actress

Wafaa Bilal – Artist and Author: Reading from his book Shoot an Iraqi; Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun

Yako Prods – Multi-Instrumentalist, Graffiti and Beatbox Artist

Baba Israel – Spoken Word Poet, Hip Hop Emcee, and Beatbox Artist

Kahlil Almustafa – Poet, hip hop artist

Elan Vytal / DJ Scientific

Published in: on February 25, 2009 at 7:01 pm  Leave a Comment  


If you plan on attending the reception on Saturday, March, 7th, 2009 from 6-10pm please rsvp through the link below:

Published in: on February 21, 2009 at 7:28 am  Comments (1)