Furat al Jamil (b. 1965, Mainz, Germany; lives and works in Baghdad, Iraq) is a filmmaker, selected to show one of her rare sculptures at the Pavilion of Iraq. A suspended honeycomb frame drips its contents into a broken antique pot, in order to convey sweet melancholy, a sadness that she feels about her homeland in its current state whilst inspiring hope in the possibility of healing and new life. Furat is very active in the artist community in Baghdad, working to connect Iraqi artists to each other as well as with the wider world in order to foster a sense of camaraderie and encourage a national creative dialogue.
You were born in Germany but live and work in Iraq. How has your experience of both countries influenced your work? Both countries have influenced my work equally. In the same way that I am part of my mother and my father, I am also part of Germany and Iraq. I am very proud of both countries. Each have a compelling history, singular culture and great people. My work has no particular time frame of development. It has been growing from the first day I took a pencil into my hand and began to draw and I hope that it will continue to develop and grow until that pencil drops from my hand.
What influenced Honey Pot which is on display at the Biennale this year? The main concepts are healing, reconstruction, and rehabilitation after a destruction. The antique pot is a symbol of the destroyed Iraq while the honey comb frames are a reference to honey’s healing and soothing effect.
What are you most looking forward to in Venice? Venice has a thousand and one things that I hope to see and experience. I wouldn’t be doing justice to the city if I mentioned only one.
What do you hope the Iraq Pavilion will achieve this year? It is important to introduce artists working from within Iraq to the international art scene. The language barrier and limited travel opportunities make it difficult for these artists to get international recognition. However, I want to leave it to the audience to decide for themselves whether or not they think the work meets their expectations of the Venice Biennale.
What are your upcoming projects? I am working on a short animation, Baghdad Night, which is also supported by the Ruya Foundation. My next art project is an infrared photography series using coloured infrared film, photographed with an old camera. That kind of film and its lab developing solutions are difficult to find so it will be quite a challenge!