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  

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