To celebrate the upcoming publication of DRAW YOUR WEAPONS (July 4!), I’m highlighting some of the artists whose work inspired my writing. Every Friday on Instagram (@sarahsentilles), I post about a different artist. First: Anna Von Mertens (@annavonmertens).
In her series of quilts, “As the Stars Go By,” she hand stitches the movement of stars above moments of violence – pivot points, when what follows is different from what came before. The assassination of MLK. The landing of Columbus. The image included here is a detail from “5:34 am until sunrise, March 20, 2003, Baghdad, Iraq (from the Palestine Hotel looking toward the Presidential Palace on the Tigris River),” 2006, hand-stitched cotton, 41 x 97.5 in.
Von Mertens writes, “As the constellation Scorpio tracks across the southwestern sky, bombing commenced over Baghdad on the morning of March 20, 2003, beginning the second war between Iraq and the United States. The vantage point from the Palestine Hotel is familiar to many Americans, as that is where most members of the foreign press were staying. I remember hearing witnesses describe the bombs lighting up the Baghdad sky that night as looking like fireworks. The sense of mediated, distanced observation characterizing the American experience of the war is mirrored in the impassive wheeling of the stars.”