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, November 29, 2010

Artistactivist Fundraiser

Artistactivist will have it's first fundraiser on January 30, 2011. I will perform/display some of my Widowsweave works.  Check back for details.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Low Estimate panel #1
Low Estimate was exhibited at the Iraq History Project Arts Festival at Depaul University in Chicago.  This panel consists of over 118,000 circles painted to represent the United Nations low estimate of 500,000 child deaths related to sanctions against Iraq.  The remaining memorial circles will be painted on additional panels.  This panel could not accommodate all 500,000 due to drying time of the acrylic paint and date of the exhibit.  There are 15-20 or more layers of tightly overlapped circles and spirals on this panel covering evidence of earlier circles, patterns and designs.  We cannot see all 118,000 simultaneously. Their inscription is obliterated by new layers,  creating a thick mottled textured panel of irregular thickness in an oily gloss.
The festival included a panel discussion on activist art, and one which included two attorneys for Guantanamo detainees. Earlier in the week, I joined two other artists in a panel discussion discussing our work related to Iraq.  There were a total of 17 artists involved in the Art Festival, all responding to the Iraq History Project's archive of testimony by perpetrators, victims and witnesses of torture in Iraq from 1968-2008.
I chose to respond to Law Law's story which involved her recording names and deaths at her family home, as they helped bury children who died around the time of the Anfal campaign in the late eighties.  When still a school girl, she was able to orchestrate the reuniting of a father and son who were able to escape the country.  This was before the sanctions, or around the time the sanctions began.  My piece continues her work of documenting the deaths of children with a series of memorial paintings.
(The UN high estimate is 1.2 million)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Iraqi History Project

Article in Columbia Chronicle on upcoming Iraqi History Project festival in which Kevin Valentine is participating.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Weisman Award Show

Weisman Award Show including three panels from the Widowsweave exhibit is up at 618 S Michigan through mid October.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Other Side of the Atlantic

Yesterday I remembered Iraqi widows and their situation from the other side of the Atlantic off the Devon coast of Southwest England at the quay at Hartland Point.  This trip has been a restful, thoughtful one of nature walks and climbs.  Upon return I will continue work on my Widowsweave.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Farsi Poem from the West Wall of Widowsweave Exhibit

In this dark
I am thinking of a lightly lamb
to graze the grass of my loneliness.
In this dark
I see my arms beneath the original rain
that fell on the first prayers of men.
In this dark
I opened a door to the ancient lanes
To the golden image of mythical caves.
In this dark
I saw the roots.
And for the growing pot of death
I explained the fluid scent of water and earth.
By Sohrab Sepehri
Translation: Maryam Dilmaghani
The poem Az Sabz beh Sabz  was first published in the anthology Hajm-e Sabz (The Green Shape)  1967, Tehran.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Post - Exhibit

Though I still have video to capture, download, and edit and thought and reflections on the exhibit and the MFA to sort and record, I'm mostly thinking about my future and what to do with all that I've got.  Many ideas for paintings, prints, and performances present themselves yet I have to consider debt and funding as well.  Same as always yet totally different....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Widowsweave: 3 Million Lines Opens Friday

Widowsweave: 3 Million Lines Opens Friday.  Here are some photos of the first lines in preparation for the exhibit:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Widowsweave Schedule

Raw Space
1104 S. Wabash Ave
2nd Floor

Mon-Fri 10am-6pm   Sat 12pm-5pm
April 23-May 14

Opening Reception:
Friday, April 23   5-7pm

Mission Accomplished
7th Anniversary

April 30th 5:15-6:45
Panel Discussion:
Women Artists in Muslim Society
Morehshin Allahyari, Hale Ekinci, Rabbya Naseer, Renee Tadros
Intoduction: Melissa Potter

May 1st
3:30 Ande Welling of Core Project-
Dance Response
3:45 Peace to Iraq
Ceremonial Response
4:00 Jaber Alturfee - Human Rights Worker
Spoken Response (in Arabic & English)
4:30 Water for Widows
Symbolic Response

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Women Artists in Muslim Society - Panel Discussion

Women Artists in Muslim Society - Panel Discussion
April 30th 5:15-6:45

Raw Space
1104 S. Wabash, Chicago
2nd Floor 

A Panel Discussion is set, in conjunction with the Widowsweave exhibit for April 30th 5:15-6:45.
Morehshin Alylahyari, Hale Ekinci, Rabbya Naseer & Renee Tadros will discuss internal and external influences on creating art in Muslim societies, their experience in their counties of origin and in the United States. Melissa Potter, Assistant Professor at Columbia College Chicago, will introduce. Kevin Valentine,  project director and creator of Widowsweave and founder of Artistactivist, will moderate. 

Future Work

Ideas for future work include:

Low Estimate and High Estimate paintings, with circles, based on Iraqi children lost do to sanctions.
Iraq and Afghanistan paintings with widow written out x number of times.
 9/11 with widow, childless, fatherless & motherless written.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Widowsweave Exhibit

Widowsweave Exhibit Opening Performances

April 23rd


1104 S. Wabash, Chicago

2nd Floor Raw Space

Come draw lines to benefit Iraqi Widows through May 14th

Get involved now

Panel Discussion: Women Artists and Muslim Society

April 30th -6:30-8

Open 10-5 through May 14th - Performances most days - Participate anytime

May 14th Manifest closing performances

More to come!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Events

Watch for upcoming information on Eyes Wide Open event on the 13th and 14th of April.

Also Widowsweave thesis exhibit will be taking place from April 23-May 14th.  check back for event schedule.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Peace to Iraq: Bundle of Branches

Ideas #24: hang the Widowsweave: Peace bundle of branches in chalk room and spend time writing "Peace" & Al-Salaam.

#25: place bundle on slab in entryway.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Water for Widows

# 22 & 23: Another proposal would be Water for Widows, covering the entire surface of the granite slab with glasses of clean water - or just one glass in the center.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

21 Widowsweave Actions

20 Widowsweave actions (which may be performed during exhibit)

 1. Draw 3,000,000 lines
 2. Crouch on floor of chalk room for one hour
 3. Self or performer, rolling on chalked floor
 4. Sit on end of slab
 5. Two veterans sit on both ends of slab
 6. Two widows sit on both ends of slab
 7. Stand back-to-back in chalked room
 8. Fill entire space with people, exit one by one at 5 sec intervals
 9. Perform choreographed piece – self, dancer, or both – separately or together
10. Read speech or talk from center of room
11. Sit and hold discussion in chalk room, about art and women in Muslim society
12. Read names of Iraqi widows in Chicago – self or widow
13. Iraqis sit, facing out, on slab in circle
14. Jaber speaking/interviewed on Iraqi women
15. Kevin interviewed
16. Panel discussion with Iraqi women
17. Iraqi woman (or artist) draws one line down center of back wall
18. Groups chalk lines
19. Sweep up extra chalk into pile
20. Play If I Could Sing in space
21. Sing If I Could Sing in space a cappella

Friday, March 19, 2010

Iraqimemorial.org - Joseph DeLappe

Thanks to Victoria B. for showing me Joseph DeLappe's  iraqimemorial.org.
This is an online open proposal site for memorials to civilian casualties in Iraq. They are just proposals, the way NYC solicited proposals for a 9/11 memorial.

There is a great list of charities to donate to.  How come there is still no way to give to widows?  They just seem to be forgotten.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Widowsweave Installation

Widowsweave installation is in progress.  The entry room is almost finished here.
Panels for the final chalk room

The entry with lights off looking through to the back wall

Monday, March 8, 2010

Peace to Iraq on Election Day

Today my wife Mary and I and  our good friend Alan, who speaks Arabic as one of his five languages, joined Jaber's extended family and friends to draw Peace and  السالم (Al Salam) in the sand.  At Loyola beach in the cool rain it felt festive, celebrating the election - it felt to me personally like a Thanksgiving celebration, with extended family and select friends all joyous and hopeful.

The original intent was to draw English and Arabic translations of Peace for each of the elected positions in today's vote.  Online I thought that there were to be 440, but when I followed through, it seemed that there were 440 provincial elected officials in 2009, and that this year there were 440 banned candidates (or one report said "more that 440").  After changing a flier to reflect "banned" instead of "elected" it turned out impossible to calculate exactly how many times we inscribed peace in the rain-dampened sand.  Jaber and Alan each did well over 50, I did 50 and everyone else worked some.  So this count is a best-guess estimate, like a count at an election rally, when official estimators say there are 10,000 in attendance.  I am saying that we did about 325 - which is the number elected to parliament in today's election.  I also made an executive decision to average the number of strokes at 20 per pair - 8 for السالم and 12 for PEACE.

So for Lines in the Sand, we are estimating 6500 lines or 325 x 20.  Of course this was much more than any line total or simple tally; it was the gathering of hope, aspiration and love for Iraq, for the Alturfee family and friends and for Iraqi widows.

السالم, Peace