Intertextuality, Fusion, Metaphor: Interview with Ali Rashid

Ali Rashid is an Iraqi-born painter and poet based in the Netherlands. Rashid trained at the Institute of Fine Art in Baghdad and later at the Royal Academy of Arts in the Hague. Rashid lived through the Iran-Iraq War and the first Gulf War and his work is a direct response to the ongoing violence…

‘Opinions and Other Opinions’: June Cartoon

The Baghdad-based cartoonist Khudair Alhimyari’s series on culture and Iraq continues. This month’s theme is ‘Opinions and Other’s Opinions’. In the image below, the word “Opinion” appears in the frame, and the word “Other” has fallen out of it. In the image below, the billiard ball to the right represents an opinion whereas the one…

‘Missing a Limb, Impossible to Balance’: Iraqi Artist Sura Moayad

Sura Moayad is an artist and a student at the College of Fine Arts, University of Qadisiya. Moayad works with patchwork and sewing techniques which she learnt from her mother, thus deviating from the traditional and academic approaches taught at Iraqi art schools. Among her recent projects is a series of portraits and busts which…

Ruya Shop: Johan Grimonprez, Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y, 1997

This weekend the Ruya Shop is screening Johan Grimonprez’ Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y (1997). Location: Mutanabbi Street, Baghdad Time: 10am – 2pm Date: Friday 25 May – Saturday 26 May Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y is a feature film by director Johan Grimonprez, which traces the history of an airplane hijacking as portrayed by mainstream television media. The film premiered…

‘Elections’: May Cartoon

The Baghdad-based cartoonist Khudair Alhimyari’s series on culture and Iraq continues. This month’s theme is Iraq’s parliamentary elections. Political Promises Two men discuss their vote and ballot papers. “What is the use if we mark them with right and they deliver wrong.” Self-Nominations Some candidates continue to nominate themselves although their popularity is visibly declining.

‘Art, Companionship and Everyday Life’ by Aneta Szyłak

In 2008, the curator Aneta Szyłak and the artist Hiwa K founded Estrangement, a series of workshops for artists in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. In this essay written ten years later as the introduction for Ruya Notebooks #2, Szyłak reflects on the challenges of this innovative project. Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes around…

What is an Image, a Sound, A Word? Interview with the artist Hassan Massoudy

Hassan Massoudy draws on his training as a calligrapher to create energetic compositions based on the written word. In an artistic career that has spanned 45 years, Massoudy’s experimental approach has pushed the limits of a rigid calligraphic tradition. His work includes the writings of poets and philosophers from all ages and cultures, ranging from…