Go See – London: Emily Prince’s ‘The American Servicemen and Women Who Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan (But Not Including the Wounded, nor the Iraqis, nor the Afghans’ at The Saatchi Gallery, London, through May 7th

January 18th, 2010

Emily Prince in front of her installation at the Saatchi Gallery
Emily Prince in front of her installation at the Saatchi Gallery, via the Guardian

An installation by Emily Prince, featuring graphite pencil miniature portraits of slain U.S. soldiers, is drawing additional attention to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the wake of President Obama’s decision to send 30,000 additional troops to bolster the mission in Central Asia. The installation, titled American Servicemen and Women Who Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan (But Not Including the Wounded, nor the Iraqis, nor the Afghans, features almost 5,300 sketched portraits and is on display at the Saatchi Gallery in London through May 7th.

The 28 year old artist, only a few years out of Stanford and UC Berkeley but who already has participated in a Venice Biennale, was motivated to draw the portraits by her frustration following George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004. “I was feeling hopeless and frustrated, and I think I somehow needed to channel that energy,” Ms Prince expressed via Bloomberg. She was also quoted by the Daily Telegraph, saying that “I am disturbed about how easy it is to be disassociated from the war if like me you don’t have a relative who is involved.”  Based in San Francisco, she will continue to produce the drawings until the conflicts come to an end.

Andre D Tyson Riverside, CA Date of Death: April 22, 2007 by Emily Prince
Andre D Tyson Riverside, CA Date of Death: April 22, 2007 by Emily Prince, via Saatchi Gallery, via Saatchi Gallery

more images text and links after the jump…

Emily Prince's Installation at the Saatchi Gallery
Emily Prince’s Installation American Servicemen and Women… at the Saatchi Gallery, via ArtDaily

Katie Marie Soenksen, Davenport Iowa Date of Death: May 2, 2007 by Emily Prince
Katie Marie Soenksen, Davenport Iowa Date of Death: May 2, 2007 by Emily Prince, via Saatchi Gallery

Since the 2004 election, she has been producing drawings almost daily based on pictures taken from a military website and the Military Times newspaper. Many portraits also feature quoted text from the Military Times, written about the departed by comrades or relatives. Each card is a different color, reflecting the ethnic identity of the deceased soldier, and are laid out in columns with each column representing a week. Viewed from afar, the installation resembles a game of Scrabble.

Regarding the emotional impact of producing the drawings, Ms Prince told The Guardian that “I’m not always emotional when I’m drawing the portraits but the most moving part is reading the articles. Before I began I had a stereotype of who a soldier would be and that’s been taken apart.”

The installation first caught the attention of Robert Storr, dean of the Yale University School of Art and curator of the 2007 Venice Biennale. It was there that Charles Saatchi bought the installation, now on display at his gallery in London through May 7th, 2010.

Benjamin J Ashley Independence, MO Date of Death: May 24, 2007 by Emily Prince
Benjamin J Ashley Independence, MO Date of Death: May 24, 2007 by Emily Prince, via Saatchi Gallery

Michael J Jaurique Texas City, TX Date of Death: May 26, 2007 by Emily Prince
Michael J Jaurique Texas City, TX Date of Death: May 26, 2007 by Emily Prince, via Saatchi Gallery

Installation View, Emily Prince at the Saatchi Gallery
Installation View, Emily Prince at the Saatchi Gallery, via Saatchi Gallery

Emily Prince next to her Installation at The Saatchi Gallery, London
Emily Prince next to her Installation at The Saatchi Gallery, London, via Times of London

Installation Website: All of the American Servicemen and Women
Artist Profile: Emily Prince [Saatchi Gallery]
Dead U.S. Soldiers Star in Artwork Bought by Charles Saatchi [Bloomberg]
Artwork tribute to US soldiers on show at Saatchi Gallery [Daily Telegraph]
Saatchi gallery hosts Emily Prince’s drawings of 5,218 US war dead [The Guardian]
Mosaic commemorates 5,000 Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan [Times of London]
U.S. Artist Emily Prince Tracks Fallen Soldiers in Major Work at Saatchi Gallery [ArtDaily]