$1,991
pledged of $25,000 goal
26
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Mar 25 2011
$1,991
pledged of $25,000 goal
26
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Mar 25 2011

About

Baghdad Antebellum:

Your contributions will fund the creation of a hardcover book featuring the stunning pre-war images of Iraqi Master Photographer, Fuad Shakir.

Why it matters:

In World War II, General Eisenhower commissioned a special unit of 'Monuments Men' to protect the artwork of Europe from the ravages of war. But in the war of 2003, things were very different; the responsibility for preserving Iraq's cultural heritage fell upon the shoulders of private citizens like you and me. In the chaos of the war, that responsibility proved too great; the museums of Baghdad were looted and Iraq's heritage was badly damaged. Since my tour of duty in Baghdad in 2006, it has been my personal mission to help mend what was broken. This project is my next step in that mission to reconstruct Iraq's heritage, to break down the barriers between our cultures, and to build a shared sense of humanity between our nations.

A curator at the National Portrait Gallery said that Fuad Shakir's images are, "not only beautiful, but perhaps the most definitive body of work to emerge from Iraq during that time."

'That time' was the era of Saddam Hussein, from the 1960's until the beginning of the 2003 war. In 2009, Fuad Shakir learned about my efforts to help Iraqi artists and entrusted me with his most important photographic negatives. These hundreds of images on black and white film represent decades of a beautiful, lively, and yet unwritten history. Now that I've digitized and archived these images, it's time to dig deeper—to write about and share the history behind this amazing body of work.

Why it matters now:

Fuad is 62 years old. Now is the perfect time for him to reflect upon his life's work and for us to learn the history behind his photographs. 

The $25 reward: "Oil on Landscape" a short book I wrote about Iraqi art in '07

Why it matters to me:

I am an Iraq War veteran. After leaving the military in 2007, I used my modest savings to bring an exhibition of Iraqi art to New York City so that the artists of Baghdad could express themselves freely in America. That exhibition was an international success, but the effort was far too costly for me to repeat without financial support.

Now, thanks to Kickstarter, you can give new life to this mission by supporting the creation of Baghdad Antebellum: a history in photographs. The book will be hardcover, brimming with gorgeous black and white images, and presented in both English and Arabic, side by side.

That's me in Damascus, 2008, while helping Iraqi artists & refugees 

What I bring to the table:

  • I'm an acclaimed author and an award-winning photographer.
  • A retired Arabic speaking curator from Yale will lead the translation efforts.
  • We've already made big strides; Fuad's film collection is now digitized.    

Why I need your support:

  • Travel: interviewing Fuad in the Middle East will be expensive & necessary
  • Printing: the initial print run will be small in number, but very high quality 
  • Equipment: a pro digital camera for Fuad will enhance our project updates

What we can accomplish together:

Last month in Egypt, with the smell of revolution in the air, everyday citizens joined each other, hand in hand, to encircle their national museums and protect their heritage from the fate that fell upon Iraq. 

We cannot undo the 'collateral damage' of the Iraq war, but each of us can lend a hand to uncover and protect the beautiful new history behind the photography of Fuad Shakir. Through actions like this, we can build a shared sense of humanity that future generations will cherish. 

Thank you for your support!

-Christopher Brownfield

Additional images from "Oil on Landscape" (2007) are shown below. The new book, Baghdad Antebellum, will be larger in size, about 150-180 pages in length, hardcover, full of over 100 black and white images, and cleanly presented in English and Arabic. Also, Baghdad Antebellum has a much lighter tone, since it focuses on the beauty and humanity of Iraqi society, not upon war. 

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Get video updates & sneak peeks of the photographs! Spread the word and get a free upgrade to the $12 reward when your friends pledge at least $12!

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    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    All above + 10 postcards with photographs by Fuad Shakir

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    All above + a copy of "Oil on Landscape"
    (a 70-page full-color book I made in 2007 about Iraqi art at the height of the war... see pictures below)

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    All above + a copy of Baghdad Antebellum, the brand new hardcover book featuring the work of Iraqi Master Photographer, Fuad Shakir

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    All above + your copy of Baghdad Antebellum will be signed by the author and I'll send an extra roll of professional film to Fuad in Baghdad

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    All above + your name will be honored as a patron in the acknowledgments of Baghdad Antebellum

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    All above + a signed copy of My Nuclear Family, my critically acclaimed autobiography published by Alfred A. Knopf last September. Among other things, this book recounts the incredible story of how I befriended the artists of Baghdad.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    $250 per adult (not cumulative with other rewards)
    Private dinner with author in NYC, DC, or New Haven, CT (minimum of 2 people, max of 7 guests per dinner) Children under 18 are welcome for free, but only one meal is included per pledge.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    All above + a limited edition, archival, fiber-based print from Baghdad Antebellum, matted and framed by Christopher Brownfield, and documented with a numbered certificate of authenticity. Only 5 limited edition prints of each image will be made available on Kickstarter, and 5 will be reserved for galleries and museums. Selection of the images will proceed based upon the level of your pledge. For pledges on the same level, selection will proceed in the order that the pledge was received.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    All above + Fuad Shakir will sign your photographic print, and the print will be framed with museum glass.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    All above + Christopher Brownfield will travel to your venue, deliver a presentation, and give a reading from Baghdad Antebellum. (Modest travel expenses must be provided.)

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    You will receive 10 signed, limited edition photographic prints of your choosing and first-in-line selection privileges. This means that your prints will have low serial numbers, probably #1 or #2 of the limited editions. These prints will be framed professionally using museum glass and fully documented with certificates of authenticity. Ten copies of Baghdad Antebellum and lesser rewards will be signed and delivered to recipients of your choice.

    Additionally, you will receive our highest honors in the acknowledgments of Baghdad Antebellum and our heartfelt thanks.

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Funding period

- (30 days)