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Iraq War:
Works on/of Paper
Statement & Info

A theme of my work has been the shared mortality: ours with the rest of the organic world. I have used materials, such as leaves and moss to draw parallel associations.

In 2006 I moved to Washington DC, a time when the majority of the country was still in favor of the Iraq war. The serenity and beauty of the National Mall, Capitol Hill and it’s many specimen trees, was quite distressing, knowing the destruction and horror going on in another part of the world as a result of decisions made here. The serenity here makes possible the dangerous luxury of ignoring the war’s existence, it’s far reaching results, and our involuntary culpability.

About a decade earlier, I had planted trees in memory of friends who had died of AIDS, and some research showed the practice of planting memorial trees exists in the Islamic faith, also. Those were the seeds of these ideas.

Names Sphere
The sphere of names is a list of everyone in the United States military and also among the Allied Forces who have died, in consecutive order. I am adding to it, as long as the war continues.

Memorial Trees: First Week, 45th Week, 87th Week, 135th Week, 188th Week, 198th Week and 219th Week.
Each tree drawing shows seven days during the war. There is a tree for each day, and the size of that tree corresponds to the number killed that day, among the Allied Forces.

Memorial Trees for Iraq (Palms)

Death ratios are contrasted here, through palm and deciduous trees. The number of deaths among the U.S. military are visually compared with the number of documented cases of Iraqi civilian deaths (even though it is acknowledged that the number of Iraqi civilian deaths far exceeds the documented number, which was 88,000 at the time this work was made in March, 2008).

Wrapped Tree Spheres

The giant spheres of wrapped tree-images contrasts the number of deaths among the U.S. military with the number of documented cases of Iraqi civilian deaths. (Drawings were scanned, then printed onto Hahnnemuhle rag paper, then wrapped to the determined sizes.)

Gathered Thoughts
A black cotton apron is suspended from the ceiling, and holds "balls" of paper, sewn from scraps of text from Henry D. Thoureau (Japanese paper, digitally printed, hand sewn.)

 

 

Names Sphere Names Sphere Names Sphere Names Sphere Names Sphere
Names Sphere (In Order of their Deaths, United States and Allied Forces), Installation View. An ongoing work.

Tree Spheres tree spheres Tree Spheres Tree Spheres Tree Spheres
tree spheres janet pihlblad tree sphere tree spheres tree spheres tree spheres
Tree Spheres (The volume of the palm tree-spheres corresponds to the number of documented Iraqi citizen deaths, while the
volume of the deciduous tree-sphere corresponds to the number of US military deaths.)


Week One–Seventy Deaths Week One, Seventy Deaths Week One, seventy deaths Week 45, 44 Deaths
Wee 87, 78 Deaths tree drawing detail Week 135, 31 Deaths Week 188, 35 Deaths
Week 198, 35 Death Week 198, 35 Death Week 219, 33 deaths Week 219, 33 deaths Week 219, 33 deaths
Memorial Trees (Each drawing represents one week in the Iraq war. The height of the trees act as column graphs, indicating the number of people who died each day. Shown here are the first week and the 45th, 87th, 188th, 198th, 135th, & the 219th week.)

Memorial Trees for Iraq Memorial Trees for Iraq palms Memorial Trees for Iraq
Memorial Trees for Iraq (The ratio of the palm trees to the deciduous trees corresponds to the ratio of US military deaths to Iraqi Civilian deaths.)

Gathered Thoughts Gathered Thoughts Gathered Thoughts gathered thoughts gathered thoughts
Gathered Thoughts

 
Janet Pihlblad