Sunday, March 04, 2007

British artist shows Iraq war dead on stamps

In a front page story in the Los Angeles Times, Kim Murphy reports, "In every war that Britain fights, the Imperial War Museum selects an artist to render that one image. Steve McQueen was chosen for the task at the start of the Iraq war, and he struggled for months to come up with it. Then he realized that it didn't have to be just one image. It already was many."

Murphy goes on to say, "He imagined the faces of Britain's war dead printed in the serrated frames of postage stamps. Peering out from under a stack of bills. Stuck on the envelopes of birthday cards. Lying silently in sheets in desk drawers."

"McQueen, 37, winner of Britain's prestigious Turner Prize for visual artists in 1999, went to the Ministry of Defense in 2005 for help in obtaining photographs of the dead. The ministry refused to provide the addresses of families of the 115 soldiers who had died by that time, forcing him to go on without its official sanction," writes Murphy.

According to the article, a full-time researcher was hired to locate the families, win their support and collect photographs for the stamps.

"The response was far from the distress the Defense Ministry had predicted. Of the 115 families contacted, 98 responded with photos, four declined and 13 didn't answer. Eighteen British soldiers have died since then. McQueen chose not to include them because he considers the pain too fresh."

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM