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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Week 3 Schedule

WidowsWeave Schedule: Week 3

Monday 2/1/10 - 2-3pm Lee St. Beach, Evanston

Tuesday 2/2/10 - Noon-1:30 pm Fargo Beach, (7432 N., Chicago)

Wednesday 2/3/10 - 2-3pm. South Shore Beach ( 71st St)

Thursday 2/4/10 - 3:30-4:30pm 12th St. Beach (South of Planetarium)

Friday 2/5/10 - 11:30am-1pm George A. Lane Beach (5900 N at Thorndale)

Saturday 2/6/10 - 3-4pm Juneway Terrace Beach (7800 North)

Sunday 2/7/10 - 1:30-3pm Lighthouse Beach, Evanston

Contact: consciousv@gmail.com

Day 14 - Montrose Beach -Saturday 1/30/10

The most significant thing about today is the lack of impact we had on the beach.  Jaber and I completed 15,100 lines yet a photo of the beach on this gray day, with the hard cold surface shows no mark from a distance.  Jaber's branch broke twice and had to be replaced.  The twisted shapes of the branches made it difficuly to draw lines that were straight.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 13 - Oakwood St. Beach (41st St. Chicago)

Today was a relatively easy day in that it was sunny and calmer.  I had a shorter stick that was too thin to hold onto with three pairs of gloves, but it was warm enough - about 15 degrees - to not need the third pair.  This appears to be a new beach, and certainly not too frequented, though there were a small number of runners taking advantage of the sun.  I started at the north end of the beach and worked my way all the way to the end, 2-3 thousand lines.  They showed up well with a contrast between the top layer and the soil beneath.  I could still see the fading after four passes even on a calm day.  Performing art which leaves no trace is actually as humbling as it is satisfying.  Most of my career, I have attempted to achieve archival quality in my work - to create pictures or objects that will last virtually forever.  Now I am creating work which can start to dissapear before I'm even finished.   This is such an apt metaphor, as I've said already, for the memory of widows, orphans and residual damage which always follow war.  They are forgotten almost as soon as they are created.
12,000 lines

I also often think of how the lines resemble tracks left from a large vehicle - a jeep, a transport, a tank, and how this relates to mechanized warfare and it's ability to inflict huge casualty numbers in a short time period.  On the other hand in Rwanda machetes killed with equal alacrity, and I am making my lines one at a time with no machinery.

On the way home, I walked around Foster Beach once, and I thought that maybe I saw a dozen or so marks that might be from my drawing last week.  It's almost impossible to say, but they appeared to be those reverse marks made by frozen snow, like the foot prints at Montrose.

It appeared at the end of a long row of marks, that a seagull had tried to help. Surprise beauty.

Day 12 - 31st St Beach, North

Today was the coldest with a high of 14 degrees, and a short time period between Music Production and Thesis classes.  I had a short stick that broke shorter half way through.  It did make wonderful double lines on occasion, though I had to bend over even more for that effect, making it more painful.  Lovely sunset with a nearly full moon over the silver-blue water, very serene. 4260 lines.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 11 - Rogers Beach

Quiet morning, starting sunny and 13 degrees, turning overcast, then hazy. Calm.  Sand hard, but not frozen solid to the top.  13,100 lines drawn between rocks and pebbles.   Three layers of gloves, two pairs of socks (one wool), two hats plus two hoods, jeans with running tights underneath and five layers on top including insulated running jacket, like a wet suit.  It was great to see the sun.  So many of these lines go unnoticed - might even blow away before anyone even wonders what they are there for.  Again, it reminds me of Iraqi widows who are under the wire, not seen from or heard about.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Widowsweave Day 10

Photos by Shalaka Kulkarni (except 2&3)
Freezing cold, windy, rock hard sand at 63rd St. Beach. Shalaka and I tried to draw in the frozen sand as best we could.  We got 4,750 lines by searching out sand veins, sand covered snow or scratching away as best we could.  We had to take a break in the middle to warm our fingers in the car.   One patch, it was hard to tell the drawn lines from the natural   ripples caused by the wind.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 9 - Widowsweave 43 Days

Today I thought about the existential dilemma of drawing lines for a symbolic number of people.  Does each line represent a person, a memory, artistic effort? How can we quantify a number which is in itself disputed to be anywhere from 1/4 to almost 3 times the chosen representation of 3 million.  This is the third time that I have had a stick which wanted to leave two parallel marks.  I have resisted counting both because counting each individual tally is important to the concept of the piece.  But what of today's branch, with which it was very difficult to avoid drawing two lines at a time (on some textures of sand)?  I decided that, as fate would have it, this would represent the difficulty in estimating an uncounted number of widows.  So, on the one hand, I was counting double at times, which felt like cheating, but on the other, I had to pay close attention in order to count only those lines that were clearly double, not just those that looked double from one angle - this caused me to slow down and think more.


A light snow was falling and became a little heavier as time progressed.  I was very quiet despite the wind - probably due to the breakwalls installed in Evanston.  I completed 20,000 lines with my light and balanced stick, perhaps 1000 of which were through doubles.  This was at the Greenwood St. Beach.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

WidowsWeave Schedule for 1/25-1/31

WidowsWeave 43 Days began week two today.  Here's the schedule for the rest of the week:

Monday  1/25/10  -  2-4pm   Greenwood St. Beach, Evanston

Tuesday  1/26/10  -  Noon-2 pm   63rd St Beach, Chicago

Wednesday 1/27/10  -  9-11am    Rogers Ave. Beach  (7705 N. Eastlake Terrace)

Thursday    1/28/10  -  3:30-4:30pm    31st St. Beach (North end)

Friday  1/29/10  - 10:30am-Noon   Oakwood Beach  41st St. & Lakefront

Saturday  1/30/10  -  1-3pm   Montrose Beach (North from Beach house)

Sunday  1/31/10  -  1-3pm  Greenwood St. Beach, Evanston

Contact: consciousv@gmail.com

WidowsWeave: Day 8

Today was a wonderful thaw, 45 degrees with a south wind, the remainder of the lowest low pressure front to ever hit the West coast.  It was overcast with some mist, but it didn't rain on us.  Jaber and I did line for line while talking about the project, Iraq Foundation, Iraqi Mutual Aid Society...  This made counting lines harder, but the meaning more rewarding.  I had a heavy dull branch to draw with, so we switched off once, then later took turns with the lighter, sharper branch.  We completed 16,500 lines and covered the entire end of the beach north of the concrete pier where we were observed by a dozen or so gulls.  Jaber also tried to teach me to say "Kevin draws lines in the sand to benefit widows in Iraq" in Arabic, but it is very hard - especially when trying to count lines.

WidowsWeave - First Week Results

WidowsWeave - 43 Days
Day  1- 16,400 lines
Day  2- 13,600 lines
Day  3- 17,050 lines
Day  4- 19,500 lines
Day  5- 12,000 lines
Day  6- 15,700 lines
Day  7- 15,300 lines

Total:  109,550 lines drawn in the sand

Previous Lines in the Sand:

   1000 -Original Performance 7/16/09
   2900 -29th Anniversary of the Iran-Iraq War
     800 -8th Anniversary of the Afghan War
14,078 -with Core Project, Body Rewired and Jaber Alturfee
  4,362 -on Veteran's Day (number of US troops killed in Iraq)
 23,140 - Total

Total WidowsWeave: Lines in the Sand lines drawn:

  133,690 lines
lines remaining: 2,866,310

Saturday, January 23, 2010

WidowsWeave Day 7 - Ohio St Beach

15,300 lines

Today was warm with only light drizzle for a part of the time.  I was not distracted by the weather at all but rather by the free parking I had found.   It annoyed me that the syntax of the sign left a small doubt in my mind as to whether or not I would get towed.  The lingering doubt filled the void left by the lack of bad weather, causing me to think of Solzhenietsyn's Gulag Archipelago  and our ability to occupy the mind under whatever are  the circumstances.

Friday, January 22, 2010

WidowsWeave: Day 6

Day 6, 1/22/10 - Howard Street Beach. Low 30s, almost calm.
Little monumental sculptures existing on the beach made for a mysterious memorial today while I drew lines around them.

15,700 lines today, though again some were no more that marks in the wet sand or frozen surface.  This time it was more because of the conditions - the top layer of sand was all clumpy and underneath it was frozen, and the end of the stick was curved oddly.  Clear lines were hard to make and caused me to wonder about the number of widows.  When there are so many, some conditions make it impossible to count accurately - dangerous regions, unstable buildings, disease, populations on the move.  For me, the count is almost perfect, but the marks are often unclear.  Someone else looking at the beach couldn't tell how many marks there were.

WidowsWeave: Day 5

1/21/10 WidowsWeave Day 5 - 31st St. Beach, 30 degrees, 20mph East wind, freezing rain. 12,000 lines. Lines in the sand have become tallies, and tallies have become mechanical divets due to the awful weather and helped by the little twist at the end of the branch I was using.


In the crusty snow, some of the lines are stabs, some are cuts, some barely make a mark.


This day was more about endurance than memory, survival above commemoration.  Sheet Ice formed on my right side where the rain had frozen on my hood.  The camera, wrapped in plastic and mounted under a shelter, still got rain on the lens which stopped the lens cover from closing till this morning.

The last thousand lines, a police car perched on the access road to see what kind of person would be out there doing whatever.

WidowsWeave: Day 4

1/20/10 WidowsWeave: Day 4 at Foster Beach, 30 degrees, 12mph East wind.  19,500 lines across the entire beach. No one asked anything today.  Very few people out at this part of the trail in this weather.  One couple with a dog heading to the dog beach.  A few runners went by on the bike path.