Visitors to the Imperial War Museum are to be faced with a new exhibition;  a charred and destroyed car last driven on a suicide mission in Baghdad.
The mangled remains are an art installation by Turner Prize winning artist, Jeremy Deller, and serve as a stark reminder of the damage war can do to civilian lives.
The piece is entitled simply 5 March 2007, marking the date of the bombing at the Al- Mutanabbi book market, at the heart of Baghdad’s cultural and intellectual life. The attacks claimed the lives of 38 people and many more were wounded.
Diane Lees, the museum’s director-general, has said of the installation, ‘We hope it will prove a thought-provoking addition to our permanent collections and encourage visitors to consider not just this car, but all our exhibits, in a new light.’
Deller’s installation is designed to draw attention to the huge rise in civilian casualties in warfare. At the start of the 20th century, 10% of war casualties were civilians, but now the figure is a shocking 90%. The car will be displayed in the museum’s entrance atrium, surrounded by the displays of powerful military hardware.
Deller said, ”I’m very happy that the Imperial War Museum has taken this object into its collections and is putting it on such prominent display – I couldn’t think of a better home for it in this country.”
The car was beaten for a place on the fourth plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square by Antony Gormley’s One and Other idea, in which members of the public occupied it for an hour at a time. Kindly donated by the New Museum, New York, where Deller’s It Is What It Is exhibition originally opened, the exhibition will move to the Imperial War Museum North from April 2011.