• November 24, 2008
  • Posted by Marc

“Give ‘Em Props!”:  Dan Witz on the Baghdad Posters

“Is there ONE painting, sticker, stencil, sculpture, or piece of architecture that truly inspires you in your daily work?”


Throughout the long nightmare of the Bush regime and its seemingly limitless ability to exploit fear to promote its evil agenda, there was little effective organized resistance, and even smaller hope for any. For me it’s been excruciating, an age of powerlessness, eight years of sorrow and frustration the depth of which I never fully understood until the moment I heard the words, “BARACK OBAMA IS PRESIDENT”, and the tears flowed and hope flooded back in. I have to say, throughout these dark days, no significant art of rebellion stands out for me, my own work included, except for one thing: the piece below which I first saw on the Wooster Collective site on February 14th. 2003.

in 2003, the week before the US started bombing Baghdad, these posters began appearing in cities throughout the world.  These pictures of daily life in Iraq were taken by artist Paul Chan, who had recently returned from Baghdad as a member of the Iraq Peace Team. He posted them on the web as a way of introducing Americans to the people who we were about to be bombing. In New York City, the Baghdad Snapshot Action Crew printed out the photos and put them up around the city with tape or wheatpaste.


From Wooster: “We woke up this morning to find hundreds of posters on lamposts, walls, and mailboxes. Wedding photos, birthday parties, dinner parties—all with smiling faces. The photos include a small line on the bottom of the snapshot -“Baghdad” and then the date the photo was taken (most all of them in the last four weeks). They are very, very reminiscent of all the family photos placed in Manhattan in the days following September 11th.

Walking around lower Manhattan this morning, very close to Ground Zero, and seeing all of these posters, was a surreal experience. You can`t help but feel the impact of this campaign.

The “Future Lost”.

....  Dan Witz