At 18:36, I heard a car bomb about half a mile from my office. This is very common for us in Baghdad, however, I was thinking that what is almost normal to me, while having a coffee and a cigarette, might be very disturbing and frightening to him who has never been to Iraq before.
“Today the general situation in Iraq is more difficult and adverse to our project”
In winter 2012, RUYA organized the visit of the curator of the Iraq Pavilion of the last Biennale di Venezia 55. In retrospect, I think that today the general situation in Iraq is more difficult and adverse to our project but the team in RUYA’s office is relaxed. It has gained valuable experience and proficiency in the last two years and has made preparations for the visit with diligence and expertise.
Now, as we’ve got 48 hours to go until Van Cauteren’s arrival with our chairwoman Dr. Tamara Chalabi, I am sitting here reviewing my timetables and invitation lists for his visit to see Iraq’s artists and Baghdad’s cultural institutions.
He will see the Museum of Modern Art, the famous Freedom Monument by Iraqi artist Jawad Salim, built to commemorate the 1958 revolution, as well as the art galleries and the Iraqi Museum of Antiquities.
“It is wonderful to think of all the possibilities that this visit will open for Iraqi artists and their work”
The last three days have been filled with the announcement of his visit among Baghdad’s artistic circle. Artists are in the highest spirits to get to know him at a large assembly of artists and intellectuals next Saturday.
It is wonderful to think of all the possibilities that this visit will open for Iraqi artists and their work. Van Cauteren will meet well established Iraqi artists as well as promising young talents. This is an opportunity for both sides to interact personally. Please follow our daily posts of an exciting journey into Iraqi art and culture.
Furat al Jamil is Director of RUYA’s Iraq Office.