Terrain Biennial 2017The Structure of Memory Valentine Terrain Biennial

The Structure of Memory

Fallen branches are lashed together to create a structural environment dedicated to the widows of Iraq. The created space is for contemplation, remembering sacrifices made, representing the complexity and hollowness of life after conflict, but also for hope, rebuilding and peace.

These found sticks and driftwood were used by participants in drawing symbolic lines in the sand in memory of and solidarity with the millions of uncounted widows from decades of strife in the Middle East. Each branch is dated and signed by participants who marked half-a-million lines in the beaches of Chicago, Evanston and elsewhere over several years.

The closing ceremony consisted of drawing some Lines in the Sand on the Lighthouse beach, a bonfire to release most of the branches and sticks used over the last 8 years and Kevin playing two of his related songs.





Lyrics to Home: see the 2016 Portfolio page

Lyrics to If I Could Sing:

If I Could Sing




Nahnu Wahidun (We are One) installation at (Em)Body exhibit at Preston Bradley Center and Uptown Arts Center

OPENING: OCT 15th, 2016 :: 6-9pm, at 941 W. Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL

We are One

Em(body) {Extensions; //part 2}

Nahnu Wahidun (we are one)


The cardboard colonnade references ancient Palmyra, once a magnificent site of trade and transport, recently caught up in the cultural discourse and destructive crosshairs of war. Refugees from Syria, Iraq and beyond are forced to leave familiar surroundings, often carrying nothing but hope. The footprints left behind embody this hope, as a traceable remnant of their journey—their quest to find peace.


The Preston Bradley Center, with its multiple congregations and openness to progressive and activist art symbolizes the faith that there is something better. Building an inclusive community may mediate the sense of dislocation, ease the transition, and create an architecture of healing.


Nahnu Wahidun (we are one) allows participants to trace or rub their own or a ceramic footprint, and to upload a picture of their art along with a message to share with others online.





see page on Facebook: em(body) 2016


3 new pieces in Schoenherr Gallery- North Central College Faculty Exhibit: April 1 – May 29, 2016

171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville, IL 60540

Lines in the Sand

Widows: Lines in the Sand Series: 25th Anniversary Memorial

Wood, Black Sand, LED strip.



Almost half a million lines

Use the provided sticks here to draw lines in black sand, commemorating 25 years since the Desert Storm Gulf War. Please count the strokes used to draw, and record them in the log book. Almost half a million lines have been drawn to date.

The dimensions of this black sand Zen garden are 43 inches, representing the days in the Gulf War, by 25 inches for the 25th anniversary of the 1991 military action.

Widowsweave: Lines in the Sand performances consist of finding a stick (usually a branch fallen from a nearby tree or washed up on a shore) and drawing lines of any kind in the sand while thinking of Iraqi widows. When asked what the artist is doing, conversation follows which raises awareness of the plight of many Iraqi widows and orphans.

Why lines in the sand?

Lines in the sand are ephemeral – they can be blown away in minutes, washed away, stepped on, erased with a new line. But they represent more than just a short existence: they represent division of land, opposition of forces or a limit of toleration—us and them; for or against; thus far and no farther. And sand is a defining feature of much of the landscape of Iraq.

What better way can there be than to draw that line of finality, of decision – three million times.



Floating to Lesbos

Water, miniature boats, concrete, plastic tub, fans, steel strips, magnets, wood; 30”x21”x8”

Using magnets to represent refugees, try to float the rafts over to the shore of Lesbos. Too many will sink the boat. The currents may return the ship, spin it round, or get it stuck in a corner. Please document these voyages with photos or videos and post them to the artistactivist Facebook page.



Home from Kevin Valentine on Vimeo.

Music, Lyrics and images by Kevin Valentine

copyright 2016 by Valentine/birddenoftruth.


Leave it all. Carry hope
Leave it all. Carry hope
Land and sea
Skies and me
Coming home

Sing again. Peaceful men
Sing again. Peace women
Land and sea
Skies and me
Coming home

Smile with your eyes
Grasp the sunrise
The day has come
We are one

We are one. On this earth
We are one. On this earth
Land and sea
Skies and me

Smile with your eyes
Grasp the sunrise
The day has come
Nahnu Wahidun

Leave it all. Carry hope
Leave it all. Carry hope
Land and sea
Skies and me
Coming home

Kevin Valentine 2016



25th Anniversary of the Gulf War: Jan 17-Feb28 1991-2016

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the Gulf War (sadly, we have to specify which one-the Desert Storm one, but the part where we started bombing to impel the retreat of Iraqi troops from Kuwait). I am recapping some of my print, paint, performance, installation, etc. that directly addresses or was inspired by these events, and the years of intertwined history between the United States and Iraq since. Check consciousv@twitter, birddenoftruth.com, or Kevin Valentine on Facebook for more posts.——-

Widows#5 Performance/Installation was one of my best media pieces of the series. Projection of up to five videos of me completing an earlier performance was layered on top of a live performance of Widowsweave on a chalkboard that I built on which 3 million intersections of line are drawn.
Video documentation on Vimeo:



3,000,000 Meters completed:

Kevin Valentine completed his logging of 3 million meters during the year following the 10th anniversary of George W. Bush’s Mission Accomplished speech. See artistactivist.com for details.

Below is the post from the first day:

10th Anniversary of “Mission Accomplished”

May 1st, 2013 was not only May Day but also marked a decade since the famous Mission Accomplished speech meant to signal the end to major hostilities in the Iraq War. As continued strife in Iraq and its resultant neglect of issues relating to women and children keeps Widowsweave relevant, Valentine is starting a new commitment to this project. Beginning May 1, 2013 and continuing for one year, he will record 3,000,000 meters of running in an effort to engage more people in the discourse surrounding Widows in Iraq. 3 million meters, or 3 thousand kilometers is equal to about 1,660 miles.

Running for a cause has become an excellent tool in fundraising for charity across the globe. The hope is to fundraise for charity that can benefit Iraqi Widows in some way, though this project has proven that goal to be as elusive as peace in Iraq. I am currently exploring fundraising for charities already listed on this site, plus Women for Women International. More details to follow.

On May 1st, I ran 7 miles (11 1/4K) – and also marked the day by drawing another 1000 lines in the sand at the Lighthouse Beach in Evanston.

Today, I added 6.5 miles for a total of about 21 3/4K so far. I am hopeful that this new initiative will propel the Widowsweave project forward.



March 20

Iraq War: 10th Anniversary

Widowsweave: Lines in the Sand for the 10th Anniversary of the Iraq War

2000 lines drawn for Widowsweave: Lines in the Sand on the 10th Anniversary of the Iraq War with Grant Grieshaber

Kevin Valentine and Grant Grieshaber marked the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War on March 20th by drawing a line in the sand – or rather 2000 lines in the sand to add to the total of lines drawn in Valentine’s Widowsweave: Lines in the Sand project commemorating 3 million widows in Iraq–a number estimated by the Iraqi Minister for Women’s Affairs on International Women’s Day in 2009.

To date, the Widowsweave: Lines in the Sand series of performances has drawn a collective 486,072 lines in the sand around Lake Michigan in Illinois and Michigan, on the Mississippi River, at Principia College,Illinois and in Hartland Quay, Devon, England.




April 20 – September 1

Alumni on Five: Games, Wars + Summits

Two acrylic works are being exhibited through September 1st at the Columbia College Chicago Library, 624 S. Michigan, Chicago.

Low Estimate, Panel 1 & Hope and Despair are on display on the 5th floor of the Library from April until closing in September.



March 12

International Women's Day 2012

Widows: Lines in the Sand
Women’s Day 2012

100 lines were drawn in the sand on March 12, 2012 on the beach at Gillson Park, Wilmette, IL to commemorate Iraqi widows for International Women’s Day (a few days late).



Feb 9

30 Second Spot – New York

New Media Caucus presents projected videos during CAA conference hosted by the School for Visual Arts

30 sec. Excerpts from performances:

30 Second Spot – New York

New Media Caucus presents projected videos during CAA conference hosted by the School for Visual Arts

30 sec. Excerpts from performances:

Widows #5 - Live Performance with Video

Widows #5 / Interactive Book

Jan 17

Lines in the Sand: 20th Anniversary of Gulf War on MLK Day

2000 lines in memory of Iraqi Widows

view blog post




Iraq History Project at DePaul University

Low Estimate was exhibited at the Iraq History Project Arts Festival at Depaul University in Chicago. This panel consists of over 118,000 circles painted to represent the United Nations low estimate of 500,000 child deaths related to sanctions against Iraq. The remaining memorial circles will be painted on additional panels Media documentation accompanied the piece.
Low Estimate Video


Albert P. Weisman Exhibition

Selected panels shown from the Widowsweave: 3,000,000 Lines exhibit, along with photo documentation. this was a group show with abbreviated versions of the grant recipient’s work.


Widows: Lines in the Sand – Devon, England

Widows: Lines in the Sand - Hartland Point, Devon, England 8_6_10Widows: LInes in the Sand - Hartland Point, England

I remembered Iraqi widows and their situation from the other side of the Atlantic off the Devon coast of Southwest England at the quay at Hartland Point. This trip has been a restful, thoughtful one of nature walks and climbs. Upon return I will continue work on my Widowsweave.

Mission Accomplished: 7th Anniversary

Performances directed by Kevin Valentine in Widowsweave: 3,000,000 Lines exhibit space. Panel Discussion: Women Artists in Muslim Society; Kevin Valentine, Chair


MFA Thesis Exhibit

Widowsweave: 20’x12’x8′ Two-room installation, granite slab, chalk, participatory performance, documentary video, live webcam.

April 13

Widowsweave at Eyes Wide Open – Wabash Ave., Chicago


Widows Lines in the Sand: Al Salaam – Peace

Peace Action: On election day in Iraq, Jabur and his family and friends, Mary and I and our friend Alan wrote Al Salaam and Peace in the sand in a light rain – once in each language for every seat in parliament being filled that day.

Widowsweave: Peace3_7_10 AlSalaam

January 17-February 28

43 Days – Widows: Lines in the Sand

Over 430,000 lines were drawn in the sand, roughly approximating casualties and wounded during the Gulf war in 43 Days, as reported at the time.

Read 43 Days Blog Posts



November 11

Lines in the Sand: for US Casualties – Veteran’s Day,

On Veteran’s Day I drew 4362 lines in the sand at Montrose Beach in Chicago, one for each war death in the current operation in Iraq.

November 7

Widows: Lines in the Sand Action Day

Lines in the Sand with Core Project and Jaber Alturfee

Widows: Lines in the Sand with Jaber Alturfee & Core Project

October 7

800 Lines mark the 8th Anniversary of the Afghan War

Ox-Bow, Michigan

During a two-week stay, Lines in the Sand was conceived, A Widowsweave silkscreen was editioned, and flags, banners were experimented with.

July 21

Widows #5

Live Performance, Projected Video, Stereo Sound, Chalk board, Chalk

Three million intersections of line cover and obscure each other as ghostly images assist the artist in memorializing three million Iraq widows.

Widows #5 - Live Performance with Video

Widows #5 video

May 15

Widows Interactive Book with Video

Interactive Book, LDR sensors trigger 0-6 video streams w/stereo depicting the artist drawing a grid of three million intersections of line representing Iraqi widows. The lines overlap and obscure each other as the scraping chalk sounds multiply. The count gets inaccurate; lines smear together, and they’re evidence is lost.

Watch video


Widows commemorative book

Widows performances



Black Rain

solo installation – 3 sculptural cabinets 72″x19″12″, rear projected videos, stereo sound, original song/lyric


Congress Ave. Windows, Chicago

collaborative installation with Susan Kwon: four video streams, one live surveillance camera with monitor