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Nancy Hiss Completes the Iraq Names Project

Excerpt from Iraq Names Project.

Since Memorial Day 2007, Nancy Hiss has been chalking the names of international coalition soldiers who died in Iraq on the sidewalks of Portland, Oregon. The final name was chalked on May 26, 2012 on Burnside Bridge. A total of 4,498 names were written in a continuous line covering 12.5 miles. The first name was Aubin; the final name was Cortez.

The project is a memorial in the true sense of the word - it exists only in the memories of those who saw it.  Because the project's medium was chalk, the names and dates have washed away.

Only last names were drawn to honor the loss of each family.  For Oregonians, their hometown, age, and a quote about them was also included.  Passers-by were given a handout with a map of the project's route and an explanation.

The project was a non-political demonstration/performance with multiple intentions, says Nancy Hiss. Her goals were to humanize the war, directly engage Portland in a dialogue about the war, manage her personal guilt about her perceived lack of sacrifice, and encourage peace efforts.

The project won an E-Chievement award from the eTown program on National Public Radio. It was presented as a Creative Scholarship project at the 2007 IDEC (Interior Design Educators Council) conference in Montreal.  It was also presented at Portland Community College's 2008 Art Beat lecture series.

You can read more about the project at Iraq Names Project.

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