Iraqi Art Now: Looking Out, Looking In

January 16 – March 16

/ 2003

Work by Iman Abdullah, Shoresh Amin, Jananne al-Ani, Sina Ata, Hamid al-Attar, Maysaloun Faraj, Said Farhan, Sadik Alfraji, Ghassan Ghaib, Naman Hadi, Haky Jasim, Himat, Oded Halahmy, Jafar Kaki, Leila Kawash, Nihajet Khalaf, Amer Khalil, Osama Khatlan, Salam Khedher, Hana Mal Allah, Ali Mandalawi, Nedim Muhsin, Maha Mustafa, Mahmud al-Obaidi, Mohammed Quraish, Ibrahim Rashid, Rebwar, Talal Refit, Munir al-Saadawi, Rashad Selim, Kamal Sultan, Sadiq Toma

Iraqi Art Now is a collection of paintings, sculpture, drawings and prints by 33 Iraqi artists, many of whom live in Europe and North America, and some of whom are living in their native country.

According to Louise Lincoln, director of the art gallery, the works in “Iraqi Art Now” comment both on the rich past and turbulent present of the artists’ homeland. The Fertile Crescent, between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, was one of the great centers of ancient civilization; today Iraq’s geopolitical role and rich oil reserves make it a contested region. With Iraq in the news, “the exhibition puts names, faces and lives of the people of Iraq in front of us,” explained Lincoln. “It reminds us to think not only of Iraq, but also of Iraqis.”

The exhibition – organized by Maysaloun Faraj, an Iraqi artist and curator – was first shown in 1999 at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. In addition to the curator, many of the artists included in the exhibition are female, evidence that life for women in Iraq is relatively unconstrained.