Stephen Dixon


21 Countries


An installation created for the Waterway exhibition space at Imperial War Museum North, Manchester. The work was made in the context of heated political debate and widespread public protest, during the build-up to the invasion of Iraq by the U.S. led ‘coalition of the willing’ in 2003.

The installation was re-exhibited at the Clay Gallery, Venice, California and at SOFA New York in 2005, and acquired for the public collection of the Museum of Arts & Design, New York, in 2006. Featured in the exhibition 'Permanently MAD: revealing the collection' at the Museum of Arts and Design in September 2008.


'Since the end of the Second World War, the United States Government has bombed 21 countries’. (From China in 1945 to Iraq in 2003.) Some of these attacks have been made with the active support of coalition forces, including Britain, while other conflicts have seen the U.S. acting independently, despite worldwide protest.

This arresting statistic has provided the inspiration for this installation of 21 ceramic plates, printed with imagery referencing U.S. foreign policy since 1945. These plates should not be interpreted as individual and literal representations of each country. Instead they can be viewed as a related series exploring a central theme, which questions the assertion that ‘The United States is a force for good all over the world’.


From the exhibition text panel for the ’21 Countries’ installation, Imperial War Museum North.



Exhibition (Imperial War Museum); Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Publication (cd-rom); Arts Council North West, MIRIAD.


Photos: Joel Fildes.










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