Mending Baghdad Favorite 



Nov 15 2003


Boston, MA; Lincoln, MA

Mending Baghdad is a four-and-a-half-by-six-and-a-half-foot quilt memorializing Baghdad as it looked during the American bombing on the first nights of the Iraq war. The purpose of the project is to bring people together to do something symbolically curative for Iraq. The artist, Clare Wainwright, worked up the image in about two days, but left it deliberately unfinished. “I just glued it down,” she says, “and the idea was that it wouldn’t hold together unless people mended it.” People were invited to symbolically ‘mend’ Baghdad at workshops held at The DeCordova Museum, The Cape Ann Museum and the Kennedy School in Massachusetts.

The quilt creates a metaphor for a symbolic reconstruction realized in small, painstaking increments. “Women, I think, are typically the people who have done mending, over a period of thousands of years, and much of their work is invisible,” Wainwright says. “These days people don’t do much mending, they just throw it away and buy a new one. But mending is terribly important, a quiet kind of act. I’ve done other mending projects, and it’s a way of getting people to sit down and work quietly on something, and it gives people a chance to talk. You never know what comes out of the talk. With this project, people have talked about everything from their feelings to just general kinds of gossip.“

When the Iraq War is over Clare Wainwright plans to give the quilt to the city of Baghdad.

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