Widowsweave is an awareness raising series of performances highlighting the conditions of Iraqi Widows who often struggle to acquire even basic necessities such as clean water or adequate shelter. Through artistic durational activities the artist and public participants mark 3,000,000 lines representing the number of Iraqi widows from 30 years of war, tyranny and sanctions.


Kevin Valentine will have three new pieces in the Faculty Show at North Central College, Naperville. The reception is April 8th, from 6-8

Monday, August 31, 2009

Loving Hugs

Loving Hugs
I ran across an old aquaintance from college on facebook and she's doing wonderful things for underprivelidged children the world over.  Check it out!Loving Hugs

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sol LeWitt's Wall Drawing No. 63, 1971

I was looking at Sol LeWitt's Wall Drawing No. 63, 1971, again yesterday in the Modern wing at the Art Institute of Chicago.  It was executed by four artists from his instructions.  This is something I will consider for my sand drawings or chalkboard performances if I cannot be in enough places to meet my goal of three million lines.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Emily Jacir

Emily Jacir's work is conceptually clear and politically moving. Check it out.

Link to Emily Jacir's Wikipedia entry:
Note that her 2009 entry to the Venice Biennale was denied at the last moment by unknown outside influences.

A commemorative refugee tent:
Link to Emily Jacir's 418 Villages That Were Destroyed, Depopulated and Occupied by Israel in 1948:

Buddhist Prayer Beads

Here's a link to a page about Buddhist prayer beads, as per conversation with Marge Roche. We talked about the nature of thought during the repetitive act of chalking the board or drawing in the sand. She brought up the Rosary and Buddhist Malas - how the repetition is creates a space in which one can free thought from the banality of daily life and lead into meditative or prayerful avenues.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

NGOs and procurement

I heard the end of Worldview tonight where the spokeswoman for Dalia in Palestine was saying that procurement for items donated through charitable NGOs must be from the country of origin. Something like a kids soccer team in a refugee camp was going to the national playoffs and needed soccer shoes. An Italian charity donated to an American International charity which gave the money to a Palestinian charity. Each group took a cut for overhead, and in the end they could not find any soccer shoes whose country of origin was Italy (they are all made in Asia?), so they bought them t-shirts instead. She said that it makes the NGOs and the coutries where the aid comes from look like fools or at best like they don't care. Especially in Palestine, where they really want a political solution to their problem, not t-shirts.

First Reply from Oxfam

Jennifer Abrahamson: Oxfam Regional Media Manager for Middle East, Eastern Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States replied early this morning that they will respond to my letter of inquiry requesting contacts relating to my Widows thesis project.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Email Inquiry

The following email was sent to four contacts from the Oxfam "silent emergency" news pages posted last March. It appears that Oxfam has not been working in Iraq for security reasons since 2004, but I'm hoping that someone who reported on the story might have contact information that will prove useful in strategizing as to the nature of my project or the objectives of any fundraising that might occur.

Dear ______,

I am an artist whose work has been intertwined with issues in Iraq since 1991. Currently I am entering my thesis year at Columbia College, Chicago. I would like to help the widows of Iraq in a tangible way through my thesis project.

After hearing Nawal al-Samaraie on NPR talking about her resignation, budget problems and the number of widows in Iraq, I began a series of works referencing the number (three million) that was used in that report. My thesis work this year continues to explore this line of inquiry – I plan on attempting to draw three million lines in the sand, around Chicago, the United States and, if possible, the world. This would be done both individually and as community awareness-raising action days. I would also like to try to raise money with the intention of helping the cause of widows in Iraq.

My first step is to contact someone who can help me navigate the world of aid agencies/NGOs/ charities /Departments-of-State in order to discern how best to achieve the end of actually helping the situation of Iraqi widows. I would not want to disrupt work already underway, insult any parties that might cause more grief, or waste effort and goodwill with counterproductive initiatives.

If you could help direct me to appropriate persons or contacts or avenues in order to develop effective strategies I would be very grateful.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Kevin Valentine

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Iraqi widows - Oxfam search

Once again I was searching the web for contacts to advocacy in Iraq. I saw some disturbing videos on Youtube of young girls from refugee camps sold, tricked or impelled into prostitution parlors outside Damascus - these barn sized places where they dance around while men decide who to take home - then many send their profits to their family.

Anyway searching, I found the Oxfam report from Women's day in March talking about the "silent emergency" of women in Iraq. There are lots of solid emails at the bottom to the Oxfam point people for this issue in America, England and Baghdad.

Last night we went to hear Greg Mortenson talk about Three Cups of Tea and Pennies for Peace. It was very inspiring, especially at Loyola School of Education. He had just stepped off the plane from Afghanistan where he was consulting about using decentralized peaceful strategies in the war, such as building schools, water projects and the like.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Writing with T3

Sunday T3 met at Audrey's and for the first time I was able to make it, as did 18 other people! We talked logistics - what we wanted to do, how meetings usually go etc. Then we broke into three groups. Our group did three different writing exercises including Hemingway's 6 word novel.
(His: Baby shoes for sale, never worn)

I wrote three in five minutes:

Broken down
roadside dark
no gas

conflicted longing
protected intimacy
night alone

raspberry fingers
chocolate mint
welcoming eyes

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Concrits - with Core Project

Concrits were today down at the Dance Center. It was a great privilege to watch these great agile dancers "think" through using their movement in these rehearsals. The critiques seemed more about movement and flow than about "dance" or content. I felt that they had already talked through content - or that they just understood the body motion in ways that were beyond my expertise. I did understand or feel a lot of it and enjoyed watching each peice unfold and each critique get to the point: how to make it work.

Susan and I both showed some video work, and Susanne's work was also shown, so Bodyrewired had full representation. I showed the part of my shorter Lines in the Sand documentation while talking about a group action day. The group felt that they would be able to help when I get my concept down clearer. I mentioned that perhaps diferent movements could be represented to further the mimicked domestic chores begun at Oxbow. There was some discussion about exploring the differences between the solo act of my drawing of the lines vs. the group action of dancers vs. the interpretation by passersby. One person thought that documentation of the different types of line made by different participants would be interesting. My saving of the sticks used to make the lines was also of interest, as it resonated witht the desire to bring things back from digital virtuality to 3-dimentional reality.

I mentioned that I still have to contact not-for-profits and or State Department resources to see what help can actually be offered. Matt said that in working with one charitable group, someone had said that sometimes just doing something beautiful to raise awareness is enough. I'm not sure yet. We'll see.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Iran-Iraq War

The Iran-Iraq War began on September 22, 1980, and ended in August 1988.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Dr. Steve mentioned in working with the Interfaith Council that people, even thought they have an idea of One God, it can be a vastly different idea of God, even within Christian Protestant religions. He recommended that I continue to study Islam as I plan to do when I return from camp.