©2009 Chicago Tribune
The faces of 648 fallen soldiers look out from the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative building in Lincoln Square. They’ve been gazing onto Western Avenue for five summers, and will continue to until the troops return home from Iraq when the installation will be taken down. The project was created by artist Carrie Iverson and generated much media attention in 2004. On Friday, I was returning from an Iraqi bakery on Devon Avenue for a food-related assignment when I stopped to understand the project by chatting with its coordinator Deborah Lader. More than 4,000 soldiers have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom, so the project quickly ran out of windows. Even now, she told me it still affects people in unexpected ways. The daughter of one soldier who sees her father’s face from the Brown Line train (the platform from which I took the photo)…the small group of Iraqis who came in and were emotionally overwhelmed by the reality of it all…It seems no matter the motives of the artist, with any kind of public art, it is the viewers who will own its meaning by reflecting on the significance.