Getting Carded

"Drive around — not over — archaeological sites." Among the things U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan need to be told, this is only middle-tier depressing, but consider that it comes from a deck of cards: There are 51 other nuggets of wisdom in the set of "Archaeology awareness playing cards" issued by the Department of Defense in 2007. "A looted archaeological site means that details of our common past are lost forever" is another. At "Waraq," Iraqi-American painter and installation artist Hayv Kahraman takes those cards as inspiration, and writes the whole thing large. The playing-card tradition of double-headed figures is perfect for illustrating the doctor/taxi driver, mother/whore, and other too-common immigrant heartbreak stories, and Kahraman exhibits several big paintings as well as small prints of the images sewn into an upside-down version of the Al-Malwiya tower — one of those archaeological sites.
May 12-June 12, 2010

 
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