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"SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN..." AT LONDON'S SAATCHI GALLERY 

 

 

By Andrew Jack

LONDON, 8 MARCH 2010 — San Francisco-based Emily Prince's American Servicemen and Women Who Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan (But Not Including the Wounded, Nor the Iraqis nor the Afghanis), currently showing at the Saatchi Gallery in London, is a striking attempt to portray the on-going burden of war visually. No great stylistic flourishes, just a simple idea writ large: a simple card of a standard size for each death from Iraq or Afghanistan, colour-coded for ethnic origin, illustrated with a hand-drawn reproduction of a photograph when available.


Emily Prince: American Servicemen and Women Who Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan (But Not Including the Wounded, Nor the Iraqis nor the Afghanis), 2004
Pencil on colour coated vellum. Project comprised of 5,213 drawings
Each image: 4 x 3 in. Dimensions variable

Photo courtesy of The Saatchi Gallery

There is no explicit value judgement, just a simple and powerful indication of the human impact of conflict (http://www.theamericanservicemenandwomen.com/). Arranged chronologically (after previously in the form of a map), it gives an idea of the relative impact of the conflicts over time — highlighting the Iraqi "surge" and other flares in battle — and the particular impact on African-Americans and Hispanics and (more difficult to see at a glance) of women as well as men. 


Emily Prince: American Servicemen and Women Who Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan (But Not Including the Wounded, Nor the Iraqis nor the Afghanis), 2004
Pencil on colour coated vellum. Project comprised of 5,213 drawings
Each image: 4 x 3 in. Dimensions variable
Photo courtesy of The Saatchi Gallery

As she herself laments, the absence of anything as comprehensive as the U.S. log (www.militarytimes.com) for local victims of the wars, is the greatest omission: the burden is still greater for the Iraqis and Afghanis themselves.

Headline image above: Emily Prince: Jason Morales, La Puente, California
Date of death: April 18, 2007

Pencil on colour coated vellum
10.2 x 7.6 cm
Photo courtesy of The Saatchi Gallery

Emily Prince: American Servicemen and Women Who Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan (But Not Including the Wounded, Nor the Iraqis nor the Afghanis)
Through 7 May 2010
The Saatchi Gallery
Duke of York's HQ
King's Road
London SW3 4SQ
United Kingdom
Tel: (44) 020 78 23 23 63

Andrew Jack is a senior journalist at the Financial Times and the author of Inside Putin's Russia: Can There Be Reform Without Democracy? (Oxford University Press, USA, 2004, 2007). He is also a member of the editorial board of Culturekiosque.com and last wrote a film review of James Cameron’s Avatar.

 

BOOK TIP: chosen by the editors as being of interest to Culturekiosque readers.

Heart of War: Soldiers' Voices From the Front Lines in Iraq
By Damon DiMarco

Paperback: 320 pages
Citadel (April 2007)
ISBN-10: 0806528141
ISBN-13: 978-0806528144

Damon DiMarco has assembled an unflinching compilation — first person narratives of returning military personnel — that personalizes America’s involvement in Iraq in a manner all-too-rarely covered by mainstream media. Ignorance, political duplicity, corporate greed and corruption, incompetence, right-wing cynicism, marital infidelity, sexual abuse and the dishearteningly widespread indifference to the existential and medical needs of war veterans are among the issues documented here. Whether voiced by naïve farm kids, street smart city dwellers or the sons and daughters of America’s elite, the accounts of horrors, brutality and pathos are relentless and devastating. 

Antoine du Rocher

External Link

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

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