Watercolour at War

I watched the documentary film, “No End in Sight”.  This is film is about the American occupation of Iraq.  I pulled it off the rental shelf thinking I should be a little more aware of what happened in 2003 and the aftermath.  Here is the trailer:


My mind was absolutely blown away.

So often I would hear about “The Bush Administration” or hear protests against the Iraq War, but I really had no idea why was so bad, what set it apart from the other confusing wars.  I know war is always hardest on the women and children, and sure enough, the rape count rose immediately after the invasion.  As as side note, apart from one brief mention, that consequence is all but ignored in the film.  A male slant to the impact of the impact of the war?  Probably.  PBS did a piece on the rise of rape in Iraq, though, I am surprised that Women Under Siege do not include Iraq in their conflict areas.

Watching the documentary took huge emotional energy–I had not idea just how fucked up the invasion was.  I learned how a few poorly informed choices from a few white men in power rendered an entire nation in chaos.  It just doesn’t make sense that the leaders who talk about “liberty and justice for all” can go into a country and demolish.  For example, how is it ok to bomb a city away and send 167 people, only five of whom “spoke any amount of Arabic” to govern 25 million people???

The thing about it is that while it is tempting to get angry “at America” and blame the most powerful nation, and while I understand now why the Iraqi people hate us, I feel that I cannot just “blame America”.  The American people, citizens and even the large majority of those in power, were literally powerless to stop the few men who apparently held the keys to chaos.

It makes me so angry.  I highly recommend the documentary if, like me, you have heard so much about a war you cannot seem to wrap your mind around.

In response to the documentary I have thought of several watercolours I would like to paint to begin to process the Iraq invasion.  Particularly the looting of the National Museum and Library.  I have come to this war late, but now that I know I must respond somehow.

I did a small search of any artists who have painted on the theme of Iraq and found Matthew Cook who serves in the British Army and is an illustrator and painter.  I found some of his watercolours on this Italian news site.

iraq.11 iraq.10I have also discovered Steve Mumford on Postmasters.  Mumford is a New York artist and author who pent time in occupied Iraq.  He wrote Baghdad Journal: An Artist in Occupied Iraq.  These images I found on his page with Postmasters.  He has also written many articles for Artnet.

mumford_full_new_8mumford_full_new_2 mumford_full_new_6

I am sure there are more watercolour artists exploring this theme out there.  Leave me a comment if you know of any others.  I would be very interested especially to find watercolour artists exploring or documenting how the war has impacted women.

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