November 7, 2002
2 mins read

I am a Canadian artist and am here in Baghdad at the invitation

of the Minister of Culture. I proposed the idea of casting my

bronze sculpture pieces in Iraq and sending them to British

Columbia, Canada where they will be installed as the centre piece

in my “Peace Sanctuary”.

I came up with my idea of the sanctuary because I realized that

many years ago the world was on edge of madness. Iraq was my

focus. I was horrified that my leaders would applaud a range of

actions that would condemn thousands of children to painful

death. It was not the world that I wanted for my children. In 1999,

I visited Iraq to see first hand what I had only read about. I was

heart broken, I returned from Iraq to Canada vowing that I would

not remain silent. I used my art as what to express my feelings.

But my work was too graphic and not subtle enough to allow

people to open their hearts and hear the message I was trying to

convey. I then came up with the idea of doing large images in

fields using hay. These clearly helped people lower their

defenses, and I was able to get them to listen to the story of the

children and the people of Iraq. But I wanted something more

permanent. A sculpture that would last. I decided to create

something by carving into the landscape with a massive

bulldozer. I created several rings of large mounds by moving

thousands of tons of gravel on the side of a mountain. (In British

Columbia). I then decided that I wanted a very large 24 foot  

bronze sculpture piece in the centre of these large gravel rings or

mounds. (One thousand feet across is the size of the last, outside

ring). The sculpture will represent “the family”. They look very

much like large rocks. Not really detail. They are abstract in

nature. I want the viewer to not be sure if they are rocks or made

by a human. There are three pieces. One each for the mother and

father, a small nine foot piece that would represent the child. The

entrance way to the rings has two large boulders and there is also

a ten ton boulder on top of a small hill overlooking the site. The

bronze sculpture will weigh a total of ten to twelve tons. We will

be melting American bomb shards into bronze. I liked this idea

very much. I am not a political artist. Politics does not interest me.

What I do want is for people to understand that when we drop

bombs on families on the other side of the world, we are

destroying and brutalizing ourselves. My peace sanctuary is

located near a small town called Hudson’s hope. It is wilderness.

Beautiful scenery surrounds you. The skies are huge. Filled with

clouds, stars northern lights. The landscape is as important as the

sculpture. It encourages musicians to bring their students and

instruments. My daughter sat and played her cello. I want people

to make it a journey. The Iraqi government has agreed to cast this

for me. It is a huge undertaking. I will have to pay for the shipping

of the sculpture back to Canada. We expect to have it completed

next summer in Canada. Thank you. Deryk Houston, Room 834,

Daily Trust, Thursday, November 7, 2002


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