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Shadow and Light

Unidentified Female University Professor (#203)


Unidentified female university professor: The professor of law was assassinated in front of her home in the al-Intissar district of western Mosul by unknown gunmen on Tuesday, the local police said. They declined to give her name. [Source: PressTV, April 21, 2009].

Artist Response

The scarcest fragment of information can hold the actuality of a person. Minute details can manifest enough information so that we can emphatically confirm, "Yes! there was indeed a life and a history!".

We are forced to create stories from material artifacts/from small fragments of information: one shoe left on the steps, blood stains on a rock, a door left open, a piece of torn fabric in the bushes, a text book with pages flapping on the asphalt road.

I am unable to glean anything from this police account. I don't know why she chose to study law, if she loved to teach, how long she had been teaching, if she lived with her family, if she loved to cook, to read novels, or if she was desperate to leave Nineveh before it was too late. There are few fragments left for me to consider: her profession, where she taught, and the hard fact of where she was when she was assassinated, her own home.

I found an ordinary candy tin along a desolate road in southern Spain. I don't remember why I took it, but, the loneliness and singularity of the tin drew me in. It was an artifact that carried the weight of use. The brass piece that I put in the tin is a part of jewelry used to pin women's veils closed, found in the desert regions of Tunisia. The pottery shard was found in a ditch in a cornfield in Guatemala. As a lost piece of someone's life, I put that into the tin, as well. These objects are interesting and beautiful to me, if only for what I can never know about the people who owned them, used them, discarded them.

Sometimes we are only left with fragments of things, and with that we try to flesh out a life or a story or a memory.

Andrea Hassiba