Building a platform for the arts in Iraq and cultural bridges with the world

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Invisible Beauty An exhibition of five Iraqi artists at the 56th Venice Biennale

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When the Wild Instruments Sing: new installation by Sherko Abbas Abdul-Razaq

When the Wild Instruments Sing is Sherko Abbas Abdul-Razaq’s latest project, which he presented for the second time at the Goldsmith’s MFA degree show last week. Abdul-Razaq created a custom-made instrument, using spokes, matches and small explosives. The spokes, known as damaqashan in Iraq, were often used by children to make toy guns. It is a…
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Art, Conflict and Iraq: Panel Discussion at 56th Venice Biennale

Ruya Foundation hosted a panel discussion on art, conflict and Iraq as part of its programme for the 56th Venice Biennale. Held at the Scuola Grande dei Carmini the panel examined the role of art in conflict, and the ways in which artists’ contributions to the subject can effect change. The speakers were from a…

Iraq Pavilion Vernissage and Opening Week

Ruya Foundation hosted a reception for the opening of Invisible Beauty, the National Pavilion of Iraq at the 56th Venice Biennale last week. Over 600 people attended, where they met the artists, Salam Atta Sabri, Akam Shex Hadi, Latif al Ani and Rabab Ghazoul, who presented their works for the first time at the Venice Biennale.…
Rabab Ghazoul asks people to repeat Tony Blair's testimonial at the Chilcot Inquiry.

Community activism and the Chilcot Inquiry: Iraq Pavilion artist Rabab Ghazoul

Rabab Ghazoul (b. 1970) is a visual artist working with participatory and performative elements, based in Cardiff, Wales. Her work investigates the causes and effects of political and social structures and how ordinary people negotiate the political. Her work takes many forms, as video, installation, text, performance, or public realm intervention and encounter. All of…
Akam Shex Hadi, Untitled, 2014-15. B+W digital print on Innova-Baryth Smoothgloss paper. 30 x 45 cm. Courtesy the artist.

When peace loses meaning: Pavilion artist Akam Shex Hadi

Akam Shex Hadi (b. 1985) is a photographer from Sulaymaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan. His practice can be understood as staged photography that nevertheless has a strong documentary aspect. Shex Hadi has made a new work for the Pavilion that deals directly with Isis and the fate of Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people. For this…
Salam Atta Sabri, from the series Letters from Baghdad, 2012-2015. Courtesy of the artist.

Letters from Baghdad: painter and ceramicist Salam Atta Sabri

Born and raised in Baghdad, Salam Atta Sabri (b.1953) trained as a ceramicist and lived in the USA and Jordan for 16 years. He returned to Baghdad in 2005, where he produced some 300 drawings between 2012 and 2015 that he has never shown in public. These intensely personal works exhibit the experience of an…

Panel Discussion: Art, conflict and Iraq at the 56th Venice Biennale

“When a conflict is prolonged, local people become isolated from the outside world, and their true lives and images become obscure in the eyes of the outsiders. Conflict itself rather than their suffering is presented to the world. (…) One of the objectives of cultural exchange is to protect such people against psychological and cultural…

RUYA announces Iraq Pavilion artists and Ai Weiwei collaboration at Art Dubai

RUYA hosted a talk on art in Iraq at Art Dubai last week, to announce the artists selected for the National Pavilion of Iraq at the 56th Venice Biennale and as well as shed light on the state of the arts in Iraq today. Curator Philippe Van Cauteren introduced the theme of this year’s Pavilion,…
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