The mangled, rusting wreckage of a bomb-ravaged car, illustrating life in liberated Iraq, was unveiled at the Imperial War Museum to show the changing nature of modern warfare.
The tattered remains were salvaged by Turner Prize-winner Jeremy Deller to show the devastation wreaked on everyday life.
The museum’s new acquisition went on public display in London yesterday and will also be shown at the sister Salford gallery next year.
The work – called Baghdad, 5 March 2007 – was damaged in the bombing of the historic Al-Mutanabbi street book market in the Iraqi capital.
The attack resulted in 38 deaths, with many more wounded. No one has ever claimed responsibility.
Previously the car has featured in Mr Deller’s project It Is What It Is, which has been shown in the US.
It will be displayed in the museum’s entrance atrium, surrounded by powerful military hardware. Mr 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 per cent of war casualties were civilians, but now the figure is 90 per cent.
Mr Deller said: “It’s unusual to see anything from the conflict in Iraq ‘in life’ so I was interested in being able to show this car to the public, initially in the US and now the UK. “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.”
Diane Lees, director-general of the Imperial War Museum, said: “We hope Baghdad, 5 March 2007 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.” The car was donated by the New Museum, New York, where Mr Deller’s exhibition originally opened. It will move to the Imperial War Museum North from April 2011.