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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755
603.646.2808
hood.museum@dartmouth.edu

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kurdistan

Taymour Abdullah
Taymour Abdullah, 15, the only survivor of the village execution, shows his bullet wound, Arbil, Northern Iraq

I.D. photographs found among the eighteen tons of Iraqi intelligence documents recuperated
by the Kurds following the Iraqi Army’s retreat, 1995
I.D. photographs found among the eighteen tons of Iraqi intelligence documents recuperated by the Kurds following the Iraqi Army’s retreat

Unidentified Photographer
Unidentified Photographer Peshmerga [guerrilla fighter]

Widow at mass grave
Widow at mass grave, Koreme, Northern Iraq

Families return to the ruins of their homes after the Iraqi army forced them to leave in 1989
Families return to the ruins of their homes after the Iraqi army forced them to leave in 1989, Qala Diza, Northern Iraq

Judith Miller: Iraq accused: A case of genocide, January 3, 1993
Judith Miller: Iraq accused: A case of genocide

1991-present

“In going to Kurdistan, I was confronting something I’d heard about, read about, and knew that the human rights community had known about, but had never seen evidence of.”

While working on a project about domestic violence in the United States, Meiselas made her first ftrip to Kurdistan. She documented the destroyed villages left behind by Kurds who had fled northern Iraq after the first Gulf War and then returned with Human Rights Watch forensics teama to find and document the mass graves of the Kurds who had been killed in Saddam Hussein’s Anfal campaign. Meiselas was horrified by what she saw: “In all my work in Latin America, in all my photographing of war, I never saw destruction that was so systematic and so complete.” There was literally nothing left for Kurdish people to call home, no repository for collective history and identity, and often no evidence that people had lived except for a few scraps of cloth unearthed from a grave. Meiselas set aside her camera and began collecting family and ID photographs, documents, and stories. She describes this project--which includes her own photographs--as a one hundred year visual history of a place and people. She published it in a book titled Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History in 1997 and launched akaKURDISTAN (www.akakurdistan.com) in 1998 as a virtual archive for people to share their stories and to post, and identify people in, their own photographs.

 

Susan Meiselas

Taymour Abdullah, 15, the only survivor of the village execution, shows his bullet wound, Arbil, Northern Iraq
December 1991
Chromogenic print
Collection, International Center of Photography. © Susan Meiselas, Magnum

 

I.D. photographs found among the eighteen tons of Iraqi intelligence documents recuperated by the Kurds following the Iraqi Army’s retreat
1995
Gelatin silver prints
Courtesy PUK, Sulaymaniyah, Northern Iraq

 

Unidentified Photographer Peshmerga [guerrilla fighter]
1960s
Hand-colored gelatin silver print on greeting card
Courtesy Joyce Blau, Paris

 

Widow at mass grave, Koreme, Northern Iraq
June 1992
Chromogenic print
Collection of the Artist. © Susan Meiselas, Magnum

 

Families return to the ruins of their homes after the Iraqi army forced them to leave in 1989, Qala Diza, Northern Iraq
1991
Chromogenic print
Collection, International Center of Photography. © Susan Meiselas, Magnum

 

Judith Miller: Iraq accused: A case of genocide
January 3, 1993
The New York Times Magazine
Courtesy The New York Times, New York

Last Updated: 3/2/10