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Christopher Sims
North Carolina

Artist Statement Submitted 2016

Theater of War: The Pretend Villages of Iraq and Afghanistan

A former photo archivist at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., I have long been interested in the role that photography has played in wartime. With my project, I am investigating the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from the vantage point of the American home front.

In visiting mock Iraqi and Afghan villages on U.S. Army bases, I find places of fantastic and whimsical imagination in spaces that serve as a strange way station for people heading off to war and those who have fled it. U.S. soldiers in training and who are about to deploy overseas mix with pretend villagers who are often recent immigrants from Iraq and Afghanistan, who have now found work in America playing a version of the lives they left behind.

—Christopher Sims

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