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Shadow and Light

Mais Ganem Mahmoud (#269)


Mais Ganem Mahmoud: Lecturer at Baquba University. Department and college unknown. Killed at the end of April, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education. [Source: CEOSI university Iraqi sources, 10 May 2006].

Artist Statement

I chose to reflect on and remember Mais Ganem Mahmoud because the name Mais is familiar to me as an Iraqi women's name. I feel very sad that there is so little information about her, just that she was a lecturer at Baquba University and killed at the end of April 2006.

The photo was taken in woodlands on the River Dart in Totnes, South Devon (South West England, UK). They are on the site of a 19th century rifle shooting range, which today is a nature reserve. That it is now a refuge for wildlife rather than a place of threat - symbolises for me, the hopeful metamorphosis of insecurity and violence to safety and peace for Iraq. This journey from one state to another is echoed by my photograph - appearing as a tunnel of darkness with light filtering through the upmost branches to guide the way to its end.

I have used an intaglio printmaking process to print the photograph. It has been exposed onto a photo-sensitive plate. I have rubbed the printing ink into the plate, soaked the paper and placed the plate and dampened paper onto the etching press, where I then turn the wheel to make a print. The many stages of the process allows a deeper contemplation of my response to the assassination of Mais Ganem Mahmoud which I hope is also reflected in the materiality of the print itself - in its rich inky surface contrasting with the light of the paper shining through.

Catherine Cartwright