14 September 2006
A Print for Iraq
I've been wanting to do some kind of print about Iraq, so I've been making an effort to become more visually literate about that part of the world, looking online at various motifs, designs and photographs from the many cultures that have existed in what we now call Iraq. Last week I stumbled across some online satellite views of the area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, an area that includes Baghdad. When I was a kid I learned that the area between these two rivers is called "The Cradle of Civilization," for it is here that archeologists have identified the origins of agriculture, writing (cuneiform) and civic law (Hamurabi's code) -- beginnings that shaped and informed all of later Western culture.
When the U.S. invaded Baghdad in 2003, one of the things that really disturbed me was the lack of foresight that allowed the looting of an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 artifacts from the National Museum in Baghdad. Obviously, there are a lot worse things going on in Iraq than lost artifacts, but there's something about bombing and pillaging the very place where civilization was born that strikes me as a very very bad idea.
So I think this print will be a map of the Cradle of Civilization. I have quite a love/hate relationship with maps after many years of painstakingly producing maps in my work, but I continue to be fascinated by maps. I like the view posted here, so I'll use that as a starting point.