Iraq suicide attack pillow project. artist statement.

  I am making a pillow for every suicide attack in Iraq since the U.S. invasion on March 20, 2003.
  Most of us have become disconnected and disenchanted with the war, while hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed and millions displaced. The U.S. has failed to secure Iraq in this war for oil, and it continues with no end in sight. The suicide attacks are but a small aspect of the war, but for me they are the most horrifying because of how personal, psychological and deadly they are. There was never a suicide attack in the country before the U.S. invasion, and to date there have been more than 1,300 separate attacks that have left more than 14,500 people dead. Suicide terrorism in Iraq has become a phenomenon and there have been more attacks there in the last five years, than in all other world conflicts combined.
  There is an obvious contradiction between the softness of the pillows and the brutality of the attacks. I choose to make small pillows, because they are inherently intimate objects, to explore the physical intimacy of the suicide bombers with the people they kill. I’m also interested in the contradiction of chaos and destruction versus fragility and comfort. The attacks and the war are more horrific than we can imagine, and to explore this I needed to make something that is tangible and approachable. The pillows are accessible because they create a safer environment to process this brutality
  I feel that these memorial pillows are not for the victims or for the attackers; they are for the whole, tragic situation. I am attempting to raise awareness and open a dialogue about the number of deaths from these attacks that I believe our government and military are partially responsible for.

Due to the fact that personal information is rarely known or available in these attacks, I developed a coded system of facts that I embroider onto the pillows.

On the front of the pillow:
Hash marks for the number of attackers.
The devise they used in the attack.
Hash marks for the number of people killed.

On the back of the pillow:
The date and target of the attack.

I also sew lace into some of the pillows:
Small white lace is for attacks that killed more than 10 people.
Medium white lace is for attacks that killed more than 25 people.
Large white lace is for attacks that killed more than 50 people.
All three white laces are for attacks that killed more than 100 people.
Black lace is for attacks where the attacker is the only person who died.

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