Ruya holds an extensive and unique database of artists working within Iraq, spanning all disciplines from visual arts to theatre and music. We continually strive to promote these artists through collaborative efforts with cultural institutions globally. In April 2016, a portion of this database was made publically accessible, as an online research tool.

Dilan Abidin, Forbidden (detail), 2013. Courtesy of the artist.

The Ruya Artist Database works to fulfill two main purposes. Firstly, it provides Iraqi artists with a platform to communicate their work to an international audience of curators, collectors and art enthusiasts, providing particular support for those who may be prevented from doing so due to physical, cultural, financial or digital isolation. Secondly, it allows curators, galleries and museums to be introduced to the work of many Iraqi artists unknown outside of Iraq. The Database is accessible to all, from general users to art specialists.

The ambitious nature of the undertaking means that the Database will never be complete, but the Foundation hopes in time to develop as true a representation as possible of contemporary Iraqi artistic practice. The number of displaced artists working in Iraq provides an additional challenge to Ruya in identifying isolated artists.

To request more information about our artists, please contact us.


To let Ruya know about your work, please send your name, location and contact details, along with images, film and sound clips to [email protected]. Ruya will:

-Keep a record of your work on our database
-Keep your work in mind for future residency and exhibition opportunities
-Present your work to relevant cultural institutions and programmes when possible
-Selected artists will be interviewed and have their work showcased on the website
Organisations Ruya Foundation has collaborated with:
S.M.A.K., Ghent
Manchester International Festival, Manchester
Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
South London Gallery, London
Istanbul Modern, Istanbul
La Biennale di Venezia, Venice
New Museum, New York
Scuola Internazionale da Grafica, Venice

Note 1: Sending your work to RUYA does not guarantee a place at an exhibition or residency. There will be separate applications for residencies and exhibitions.
Note 2: RUYA will never publish images, videos or details about an artist’s work without the artist’s permission.

For more information about the database, please download our information sheet.
For cultural institutions and organisations
Our database of artists working within Iraq is unique, spanning all disciplines from visual arts to theatre and music. To request more information about our artists, please contact: [email protected]