About Jane Irish's Tapestry Cartoons

In January 1971 Vietnam Veterans Against the War held hearings in Detroit, Michigan, called the Winter Soldier Investigation. At this unprecedented event, the antiwar veterans held their own inquiry - now part of the US Congressional Record - to present testimony gathered from soldiers and witnesses about war crimes and the conduct of the war in Southeast Asia. Purple Heart recipient Scott Moore, a native of Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley who had commanded an Army infantry platoon in Vietnam, was one of several VVAW members who organized and led the WSI. He recently gave me access to his papers, hoping I would hold them until I felt it was time to place them in an archive. Most of the papers were on the Winter Soldier Investigation.

I had done paintings and drawings in 2010, representing the heroism of the act of telling the unpopular truth, but I had always been afraid of the content. Now I assumed the role of the older woman in the room, retyping the original IBM Selectric pages transcribed by Scott's mother Madelyn Moore and Nina Kimche in 1971, as a way of re-enacting their typing of those hundreds of pages of testimony and internalizing the stories. Distracted by the coordination of typing words I couldn't read, the horror of mutilations and humiliations seeped into my throat.

I am creating Renaissance-style tapestry cartoons on muslin in distemper and oil to juxtapose, to display some of the cultural resources and resonances of this violence (for example, The Stoning of St. Stephen)

Link here