Al-Mutanabbi
Street Broadsides
  Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition project
––one of only ten in the world––

I Challenge Anyone

 

Artist's Statement

The broadside, I Challenge Anyone, was inspired by an article written by Anthony Shadid in the Washington Post. Shadid’s story is a personal account of the Al-Mutanabbi Street bombing told through a reminiscence of his friendship with a bookseller on the street, Mohammed Hayawi.

They first met in 2002, a year before the American invasion and then a handful of times thereafter. As Shadid wrote of Hayawi, “the names of Iraqi victims will never be published, consigned to the anonymity that death in the Iraqi capital brings these days . . . . few beyond Mutanabbi Street even knew his name. Yet his quiet life deserves more than a footnote, if for no other reason than to remember a man who embraced what Baghdad was and tried to make sense of a country that doesn’t make sense anymore.”

This account compelled me to make this broadside as both a remembrance of Hayawi, in his own words, and a tribute to what Anthony Shadid poignantly identied as the “small moments of life, gentle simply by virtue of being ordinary, now lost in the rubble strewn along a street that will never be the same.”