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hanging - The Presence of Absence

The Presence of Absence

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Manchester (made)

  • Date:

    2010 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Vickers, Jennifer (Ms) (designed and made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Paper patchwork quilting, hand and machine-stitched.

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Jennifer Vickers

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This paper patchwork designed and made by Jennifer Vickers, commemorates military and civilian casualties of the second Iraq War while also promoting a reflection on the way such incidents are reported by Western media. Civilian deaths are marked using an anonymous square of paper, military deaths with an image of the deceased taken from newspaper documentation. Over 38,000 squares list the sequence of deaths occurring between the start of the war in March 2003 and the 100th British military fatality in January 2006. Viewed in its entirety, the work serves as a focus for contemplation on the human cost of war, the escalation of civilian casualties, and the degree of public commemoration.

Physical description

Paper patchwork quilt comprising over 38,000 squares of plain and printed paper, each measuring 1cm x 1cm. Each grid of four squares is assembled by hand, and then machine-stitched into the wider construction.

Place of Origin

Manchester (made)


2010 (made)


Vickers, Jennifer (Ms) (designed and made)

Materials and Techniques

Paper patchwork quilting, hand and machine-stitched.


Weight: 9.5 kg, Width: 243 cm, Length: 160 cm

Object history note

'The Presence of Absence ' was originally commissiond for the 'Quilts 1700-2010' exhibition (V&A 29th March - 4th July 2010). It is included in the exhibition catalogue: Prichard, Susan (ed.): Quilts 1700-2010 - Hidden Histories, Untold Stories, V&A Publishing, London, 2010, p. 222

Descriptive line

'The Presence of Absence', paper patchwork hanging, designed and made by Jennifer Vickers 2010






War; Death


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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