Marking the anniversary of former US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s address to the United Nations Security Council, where he made a false case for the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, artist Dia al-Azzawi will darken the gallery containing his work Mission of Destruction (2004-07) on February 6, 2020. Azzawi’s gesture references the decision made by UN officials to cover a tapestry reproduction of Pablo Picasso’s anti-war painting Guernica (1937), which hangs outside of the Security Council, during Powell's 2003 address. Azzawi's monumental painting was similarly made in response to the atrocities of war. While the painting will not be covered due to conservation concerns, it will be darkened for one day, bringing attention to the gesture made by UN officials nearly twenty years ago. Azzawi explains: “After Powell’s speech, the military campaign was easy to win. The more difficult reality for the Iraqi people to face was the total destruction of their social and cultural infrastructure, which put an end to their daily life. Without civil society—universities, libraries, museums—and with the political system that was imposed upon Iraq, they still have to face sectarian divides in every aspect of life. And because of this, Iraqis are dying every single day in the Land of Darkness.”
Dia al-Azzawi: Darkness over Mission of Destruction
Thu, Feb 6, 12:00 p.m. MoMA PS1
Thu, Feb 6, 12:00–6:00 p.m.