These next images were made after the 911 incidents in the USA and the lead up to the war in Iraq. The first flag image alters the flag template with the addition of drawings of barbed wire and text.
This drawing is the second flag image and continues the concern with the death and destruction in Iraq by US government armed forces. The names are of some of the dead who have been killed since the war began. The top row represents the names of only a few people killed in March 2003 when the war began and each following row below represents deaths in that month, so row two would be April 2003. Rows three and four are May and June 2004 and continues chronologically to March of 2009.
Names were selected from a published list of those killed, women, men and children and represent a small number from the tens of thousands who have died. They represent a cross section of Iraqi society both Muslim and those from other faiths.
Looking again at Row one the first name is Imran, a male student killed in Mosul on March 22, next is Paul Moran, age 39, male and a cameraman who was killed in Khormal. The last name in this row is Valantina Yonas, aged 2 and was killed in Mosul on March 27.
The justification for the carnage and destruction against the Iraqi people, which was perpetrated by the US government, was based on a lie of weapons of mass destruction stored in Iraq and supposedly connections to Al Qaeda. Rather it was known before the war the agenda was to gain control of the Iraqi oil and continue US presence in the Middle East. The lie has also adversely affected the lives of thousands of Americans. This tragedy was unnecessary and should have never occurred.
Profiteers and opportunists have waged war to obtain huge financial gains creating misery and loss for the Iraqi people. Is the US flag a symbol of liberty, freedom and democracy or has it become a symbol of loss, foreign invasion, death and destruction for the sovereign state of Iraq?
The design of the flag is used as a template to create new symbols and meaning which is relevant to the ongoing war in Iraq and the Middle East. A font based on the traditional Foundational font is used to lend dignity and importance to each name. The initial letter of each name has a colour which continues the practice a seen in sacred illuminated texts. The use of engraving into the surface of the paper board and shading the surface creates a texture to contrast and highlight the names. Each star has a crescent moon, they are also engraved into the surface but they remain white. A cast shadow gives them definition. The stars now have a different identity and meaning. The drawing becomes a reminder and a memorial.
The conventional material for a memorial is stone, marble and bronze. Paper was used to reflect the fragility of life but also it is noted there are more art works on paper in the world and they continue to last for centuries. The will, dignity and strength of the Iraqi people will endure and prevail. Their names will not be forgotten.
Another flag image was created while recovering from surgery for cancer and news of a former student who was killed by an IED explosion while serving with the Canadian armed forces in Afghanistan in Dec 2009. These wars have created opposing perspectives and mixed emotions about our role as a nation in sending armed forces to other countries.