Making A Ruckus

Making a Ruckus highlights the work of women artists and their commentary on matters of international peace and security.

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Drawing by Rajkamal Kahlon from her Blowback series

Rajkamal Kahlon is an American artist and educator. And she’s someone you should know.

Her two projects, Blowback and Did You Kiss the Dead Body? are intense examinations of US foreign policy and human rights.Kahlon’s drawings, paintings and performative installations use critical aesthetics and absurdist humor to challenge current policy and journalistic accounts of counter-terrorism and human rights. Her images are often found within already existing historical and contemporary colonial archives. As an Artist-in-Residence at the American Civil Liberties Union, Kahlon interviewed lawyers in the Human Rights and National Security Projects, for her project, Did You Kiss the Dead Body?, which centers on US military autopsy reports of Iraqi and Afghan men who have been killed in U.S. detention facilities since 9/11.

Her other, more recently exhibited work in New York (January 2014), is Blowback. Blowback is a CIA term for the unintended consequences of covert operations against foreign nations and governments. In Kahlon’s words, “The project borrows the term to explore the relationship between early anthropological portraiture and modern terrorism.  Through these works a relation of causality appears between Western representations of formerly colonized subjects and acts of political retaliation labeled as terrorism today.”

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