Mijn hersenspinsels en gedachtekronkels

Exhibition I.M. Ziad Haider- زياد حيدر

Ziad met laatste werk

IM Ziad Haider

Gallery Out in the Field

Warmondstraat 197, Amsterdam

27/5- 27/6/2018
http://www.art-gallery-outinthefied.com

زياد حيدر

Here the Original Dutch version

The abstract works of Ziad Haider (1954, Al-Amara, Iraq-2006 Amsterdam, the Netherlands) can be interpreted as deep reflections on his own turbulent biography, but always indirect, on a highly sublimized level. Born in Iraq and lived through a period of war and imprisonment, and after he found his destiny in the Netherlands, he left an impressive oeuvre.

Ziad Haider studied in the first half of the seventies at the Baghdad Institute of Fine Arts. In the two decades before a flourishing local and original Iraqi art scene was created. From the fifties till the seventies Iraq was one of the leading countries in the Arab world in the field of modern art and culture. Artists like Jewad Selim, Shakir Hassan al-Said and Mahmud Sabri shaped their own version of international modernism. Although these artists were educated abroad (mainly in Europe), after returned to Iraq they founded an art movement which was both rooted in the local traditions of Iraq as fully connected with the international developments in modernist art. They created a strong and steady basis for an Iraqi modern art, unless how much the Iraqi modern art movement would suffer from during the following decades of oppression, war and occupation, so much that it mainly would find its destiny in exile.

The turning-point came during the time Ziad Haider was studying at the academy. Artists who were a member of the ruling Ba’th party- or willing to become one- were promised an even international career with many possibilities to exhibit, as long as they were willing to express their loyalty to the regime, or even sometimes participate in propaganda-projects, like monuments, or portraits and statues of Saddam Husayn. Ziad Haider, who never joined the Ba’th party, was sent into the army.

In 1980 the Iraqi regime launched the long and destructive war with Iran. Many young Iraqis were sent into the army to fight at the frontline. This also happened to Ziad Haider. The Iraq/Iran war was a destructive trench war in which finally one million Iraqis (and also one million Iranians) died. The years of war meant a long interruption in Ziad Haider’s career and live as an artist. It turned out much more dramatic for him, when he was back in Baghdad for a short period at home. He was arrested after he peed on a portrait of Saddam Husayn. Ziad Haider was sent to Abu Ghraib Prison, where he stayed for five years (1986-1990) probably the darkest period of his life. After his time in prison he was sent away to the front again, this time in a new war: the occupation of Kuwait and the following American attack on Iraq.

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After the Intifada of 1991, the massive uprising against the Iraqi regime in the aftermath of the Gulf War, which was violently supressed, Ziad Haider fled Iraq, like many others. After a period of five years in Syria and Jordan he was recognized by the UN as a refugee and was invited to live in the Netherlands, which became his new homeland. With a few paintings and drawings, he arrived 1997 in Amersfoort. After Amersfoort he lived for short a while in Almere and finally in Amsterdam. In first instance it was not simple to start all over again as an artist in his new country. Beside he worked further in his personal style he started to draw portraits in the streets of Amsterdam (the Leidse Plein and the Rembrandtplein). Later he organised, together with the Dutch artist Paula Vermeulen he met during this time and became his partner, several courses in drawing and painting in their common studio. Ziad Haider was very productive in this period and created many different works in different styles. Giving courses in figurative drawing and painting and drawing portraits was for him very important. As he told in a Dutch television documentary on five Iraqi artists in the Netherlands (2004, see here) these activities and the positive interaction with people were for him the best tools to “drive away his nightmares”.

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In his abstract works, always the main part of his artistic production, he sought the confrontation with the demons from the past. Although abstract there are often some recognisable elements, which are returning in several works during the years. A returning motive is the representation of his feet. This refers to several events from his own life. As a soldier Ziad had to march for days. When he was released from prison, together with some other prisoners, he was the only one who, although heavily tortured on his feet, who was able to stand up and walk. And his feet brought him further, on his long journey into exile, till he finally found a safe place to live and work.

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The motive of his bare feet is not the only figurative element in his work. In many of his paintings and drawings there are some more or less anthropomorphic elements, often molten together with structures with the appearance of liquid metal. The theme of man and machine plays an important role in the expressive works of Ziad. Of course this is close connected to his own biography and history of war and imprisonment.

In some of his works one can vividly experience a sense of a claustrophobic space, referring to his time spending in the trenches during the war, the interior of the tank and- later- the prison-cell. But all these experiences went through a process of transformation, of abstraction and translated in the language of art. And this art is, unless the underlying struggle, very lyrical in its expression.

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The also in the Netherlands living Iraqi journalist, poet and critic Karim al-Najar wrote about Ziad Haider: “For a very long time the artist, Ziad Haider, has been living in solitude, prison and rebellion. On this basis, the foregoing works constitute his open protest against the decline, triviality and prominence of half-witted personalities as well as their accession of the authority of art and culture in Iraq for more than two decades. Here we could touch the fruits of the artist’s liberty and its reflection on his works. For Ziad Haider has been able to achieve works showing his artistic talent and high professionalism within a relatively short time. We see him at the present time liberated from his dark, heavy nightmares rapidly into their embodiment through colour and musical symmetry with the different situations. It indeed counts as a visual and aesthetic view of the drama of life as well as man’s permanent question, away from directness, conventionality and false slogans”.

Although he opposed another American war against Iraq, with an uncertain outcome for its people, the end of the Ba’athist regime made it possible to visit his home country after many years of exile. In the autumn of 2003 he visited Iraq for the first time since his long absence in exile. His visit to iraq made a great impression and also influenced his work after. In the last series of paintings he made his use of colours changed dramatically. The explosive use of intense shades of red were replaced for a use of sober browns and greys. The dynamic compositions were changed in regular constructed forms. Also these works, from his last series, are represented on this exhibition.

Ziad meant a lot for many, as an artist, but also as a human being and a friend. Within the community of exiled Iraqi artists in the Netherlands he played a very important role. In 2004 he initiated the Iraqi cultural manifestation in Amsterdam, with the title “I cross the Arch of Darkness”, a quote from a poem by his friend, the also in the Netherlands living Iraqi poet Salah Hassan ( ﺃﻋﺒﺭﻗﻮﺲ ﻟﻟﻆﻻﻢ  ﺃﻮﻤﻰﻋ ﻟﻟﻧﻬﺎﺭ ﺑﻌﻛﺎﺰﻱ  ,  from his collected poems, published under the title “A rebel with a broken compass”, 1997). In this festival visual artists, poets, musicians and actors came together to show the variety and richness of the Iraqi cultual life in exile to a Dutch audience.

During the years Ziad and Paula lived at the Rozengracht in the old centre of Amsterdam, there home was a regular meetingpoint of many exiled Iraqi artists, poets, writers, musicians, actors, journalists and intellectuals. Many will cherish their sweet memories of the sometimes notorious gatherings till deep in the night. His sudden death in 2006 was a great loss for many of us.

The works of Ziad are still here and they deserve to be exhibited (now his second exhibition after he passed away). With this exhibition we celebrate Ziad Haider what he meant as an artist and as a human being.

Floris Schreve

Amsterdam, 2018

Gallery Out in the Field

On this blog (mainly in Dutch):

Tentoonstelling Ziad Haider (Diversity and Art)

Iraakse kunstenaars in ballingschap

Modern and contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa (English)

See also this In Memoriam of Ziad’s friend, the artcritic  Amer Fatuhi

The opening:

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Tentoonstelling IM Ziad Haider- زياد حيدر

Ziad met laatste werk

IM Ziad Haider

Gallery Out in the Field

Warmondstraat 197, Amsterdam

27/5- 27/6/2018

http://www.art-gallery-outinthefied.com

 

زياد حيدر

Here the English version

Het abstracte werk van Ziad Haider (al-Amara, Irak, 1954-Amsterdam 2006) kan worden gezien als een diep doorleefde reflectie op zijn roerige levensgeschiedenis, zij het altijd in gesublimeerde vorm. Afkomstig uit Irak en, na een periode van oorlog en gevangenschap, uitgeweken naar Nederland, heeft hij, in de jaren dat hij werkzaam in Nederlandse ballingschap was, een groot aantal indrukwekkende werken nagelaten.

Ziad Haider studeerde begin jaren zeventig aan de kunstacademie in Bagdad.
In de twee decennia daarvoor was er in Irak een bloeiende modernistische kunstscene ontstaan. Vanaf de jaren vijftig tot in de jaren zeventig was Irak een van de meest toonaangevende landen op het gebied van moderne kunst en cultuur in de Arabische wereld. Iraakse kunstenaars als Jewad Selim, Shakir Hassan al-Said en Mahmud Sabri creëerden hun eigen versie van het internationale modernisme. Hoewel deze kunstenaars elders (vooral in Europa) waren opgeleid, trachtten zij, teruggekeerd naar hun geboorteland, een moderne kunstscene op te zetten, die zowel geworteld was in de lokale traditie, als aansloot bij de internationale ontwikkelingen. Zij creëerden hiermee een stevige basis voor een heel eigen Iraakse moderne kunsttraditie, hoezeer deze ook onder druk kwam te staan in de daaropvolgende decennia, vol met onderdrukking, oorlog en bezetting, waardoor vele Iraakse kunstenaars noodgedwongen hun werk in ballingschap moesten voortzetten.

In de tijd dat Ziad Haider studeerde kwam net het kantelpunt. Kunstenaars die lid van de regerende Ba’thpartij waren, konden, wanneer zij ook bereid waren om bij gelegenheid mee te werken met de verheerlijking van het regime en de officiële propaganda, soms een glanzende carrière tegemoetzien, tot en met de mogelijkheid tot exposeren in het buitenland. Ziad Haider, die geen lid van de Ba’thpartij was, werd na zijn studietijd meteen het leger ingestuurd.

Kort daarna, begin 1980, stortte het Iraakse regime zich in de oorlog met Iran. Vele jonge Iraki’s werden de oorlog ingestuurd om aan het front als soldaat te dienen en ook Ziad Haider trof dit lot. De Irak/Iran oorlog was een vernietigende loopgravenoorlog, waarin uiteindelijk een miljoen Iraki’s (en een miljoen Iraniërs) de dood vonden. De jaren van oorlog betekenden een lange onderbreking van Ziads loopbaan als kunstenaar. Zijn leven zou nog een veel heviger wending nemen toen hij midden jaren tachtig, gedurende een kort verlof in Bagdad, werd gearresteerd, omdat iemand over hem had geklikt bij de geheime dienst. Hij had over een portret van Saddam geplast. Voor bijna vijf jaar verbleef Ziad Haider in de beruchte Abu Ghraib gevangenis, de donkerste periode van zijn leven (1986-1990). Nadat hij was vrijgelaten werd hij weer terug het leger ingestuurd dat net Koeweit was binnengevallen. Ook de Golfoorlog van 1991 maakte hij volledig mee.

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Na de volksopstand tegen het regime van 1991 ontvluchtte hij Irak. Voor vijf jaar verbleef hij achtereenvolgens in Syrië en Jordanië, totdat hij in 1997 als vluchteling aan Nederland werd toegewezen. Met een paar schilderijen en een serie tekeningen, kwam hij aan in ons land, waar hij terecht kwam in Amersfoort. Na Amersfoort woonde hij voor korte tijd in Almere en vervolgens in Amsterdam. Net als voor veel van zijn lotgenoten, was het in eerste instantie niet makkelijk om zich hier als kunstenaar te vestigen. Naast dat hij doorwerkte aan zijn persoonlijke stijl, werkte hij ook veel als portrettist en tekende hij portretten van passanten op het Leidse Plein en het Rembrandtplein. Later gaf hij, samen met Paula Vermeulen, die hij in die tijd ontmoette, ook verschillende teken- en schildercursussen in hun gemeenschappelijke atelier. Ziad Haider was in deze periode zeer productief, werkte met verschillende technieken in verschillende stijlen. Juist het werken met zijn cursisten of het tekenen van portretten op straat waren voor hem een belangrijke bron levenslust, zoals hij dat een keer verklaarde voor de IKON televisie, in een documentaire uit 2003: “Een manier om de terugkerende nachtmerries te verdrijven” (Factor, Ikon, 17-6-2003, zie hier).

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In zijn abstracte werk ging Ziad Haider juist de confrontatie aan met de heftige gebeurtenissen uit zijn leven van de jaren daarvoor. In deze werken duiken ook een paar herkenbare elementen op, die regelmatig terugkeren in verschillende werken. Een motief dat op verschillende manieren terugkeert, is de weergave van zijn voeten. Dit gegeven refereert aan verschillende gebeurtenissen in zijn leven. Als soldaat moest Ziad Haider vaak lange marsen afleggen. Toen hij uit de gevangenis werd vrijgelaten was hij de enige van zijn medegevangenen die nog amper in staat was om op zijn voeten te staan. En natuurlijk hebben zijn voeten hem verder gedragen, op zijn lange reis in ballingschap, totdat hij uiteindelijk een veilige plaats vond.

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Het motief van de voeten is niet het enige herkenbare gegeven in Ziads werken. Vaak zijn er min of meer antropomorfe elementen te ontdekken. Deze lijken vaak versmolten met vormen die doen denken aan gloeiend metaal. Het thema mens en machine speelt in het werk van Ziad een belangrijke rol. Ook dit thema hangt vanzelfsprekend nauw samen met zijn eigen geschiedenis van oorlog en gevangenschap.
Voelbaar is in sommige werken ook de claustrofobische ruimte, die refereert aan zijn verblijf in de loopgraven, de tank en daarna de cel, al zijn deze ervaringen altijd door een transformatieproces gegaan, waardoor ze zijn te vervatten in kunst. En deze kunst heeft, ondanks de strijd, vaak een buitengewoon lyrisch karakter.

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De in Nederland wonende Iraakse journalist, dichter en criticus Karim al-Najar over Ziad Haider: ‘For a very long time the artist, Ziad Haider, has been living in solitude, prison and rebellion. On this basis, the foregoing works constitute his open protest against the decline, triviality and prominence of half-witted personalities as well as their accession of the authority of art and culture in Iraq for more than two decades. Here we could touch the fruits of the artist’s liberty and its reflection on his works. For Ziad Haider has been able to achieve works showing his artistic talent and high professionalism within a relatively short time. We see him at the present time liberated from his dark, heavy nightmares rapidly into their embodiment through colour and musical symmetry with the different situations. It indeed counts as a visual and aesthetic view of the drama of life as well as man’s permanent question, away from directness, conventionality and false slogans’.
Hoe zeer hij ook zijn bedenkingen had bij de Amerikaanse invasie van Irak in 2003, het betekende voor Ziad wel een mogelijkheid om weer zijn geboorteland te bezoeken. In de herfst van 2003 zette hij deze stap. Zijn bezoek aan Irak maakte grote indruk en had ook zijn weerslag op de laatste serie werken die hij maakte. Allereerst veranderde zijn palet. Het intense rood, dat zijn werken voor die tijd sterk had gedomineerd, werd vervangen door sobere bruinen en grijzen. De heftige bewegingen in zijn composities maakten plaats voor een regelmatiger opbouw. Ook dat werk, uit zijn laatste reeks, is op deze tentoonstelling te zien.
Ziad heeft veel betekend als kunstenaar, maar verder was hij ook een belangrijk figuur binnen de Iraakse kunstscene in ballingschap. Zo was hij de initiatiefnemer van het de manifestatie “Ik stap over de Boog van Duisternis; Iraakse kunstenaars in Amsterdam”. Onder deze titel , die verwijst naar een zin uit een gedicht van de dichter en Ziads vriend Salah Hassan, (  “ﺃﻋﺒﺭﻗﻮﺲ ﻟﻟﻆﻻﻢ ﺃﻮﻤﻰﻋ ﻟﻟﻧﻬﺎﺭ ﺑﻌﻛﺎﺰﻱ ” , uit de bundel Een rebel met een kapot kompas, 1997), werd er in 2004 een Iraaks cultureel festival in Amsterdam georganiseerd, waarin verschillende uit Irak afkomstige beeldende kunstenaars, dichters, musici en acteurs centraal stonden.
Gedurende de jaren dat Ziad en Paula samen aan de Rozengracht woonden, was hun huis een trefpunt van vele Iraakse beeldende kunstenaars, maar ook dichters, schrijvers, musici, acteurs en journalisten. Velen zullen dierbare herinneringen koesteren aan deze roemruchte avonden. Het plotselinge overlijden van Ziad Haider in 2006 kwam dan ook als een grote klap.
Zijn werk is er gelukkig nog en verdient het om getoond te worden. Met deze tentoonstelling vieren wij wat hij als kunstenaar en als mens heeft betekend.

Floris Schreve
Amsterdam, mei 2018

Gallery Out in the Field

Verder op dit blog:

Tentoonstelling Ziad Haider (Diversity and Art)

Iraakse kunstenaars in ballingschap

Zie ook deze In Memoriam van de Iraakse kunstcriticus Amer Fatuhi

De opening:

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Tentoonstelling ‘Distant Dreams; the other face of Iraq’ (Kunstliefde, Utrecht)

http://onglobalandlocalart.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/exhibition-distant-dreams-the-other-face-of-iraq-kunstliefde-utrecht-the-netherlands-and-a-lecture-on-modern-and-contemporary-iraqi-art/

 

أحلام بعيدة، هي الوجه الآخر للعراق

معرض لخمسة فنانين عراقيين في هولندا

On Sunday February 19th in Utrecht (in the artists Society Kunstliefde) the exhibition ‘Distant Dreams, the other face of Iraq’ will be opened, an exhibition of five Iraqi artists who are living and working in the Netherlands, curated by Martin van der Randen. The participating artists are Salam Djaaz, Qassim Alsaedy, Baldin Ahmad, Awni Sami and Araz Talib , all on this blog ever mentioned or extensively discussed. On Friday, February 24 at 20:00 I will give a lecture at the exhibition on the history of modern art of Iraq and the Iraqi art in the Diaspora, in the Netherlands and elsewhere.

Here is the brochure of Distant Dreams; The other face of Iraq (both in English and Dutch)

In this blog entry, the documentation of the exhibition and the lecture will appear very soon. Below the official announcement. See also http://www.iraqiart.com/inp/view.asp?ID=1305 (Arabic):

Op zondag 19 februari wordt in de Utrechtse kunstenaarsvereniging Kunstliefde de tentoonstelling Distant Dreams; the other face of Iraq geopend, van vijf uit Irak afkomstige kunstenaars in Nederland, samengesteld door Martin van der Randen. De deelnemende kunstenaars zijn Salam Djaaz, Qassim Alsaedy, Baldin Ahmad, Awni Sami en Araz Talib, allen weleens op dit blog genoemd of uitvoerig besproken. Op vrijdag 24 februari zal ik om 20.00 bij de tentoonstelling een lezing geven over de geschiedenis van de moderne kunst van Irak en de Iraakse kunst in de Diaspora, in Nederland en elders.

Zie hier de Brochure van Distant Dreams; The other face of Iraq

In dit blogitem zal de documentatie van de tentoonstelling en de lezing verschijnen. Hieronder de officiële aankondiging.

Salam Djaaz   سلام جعاز

Qassim Alsaedy   قاسم الساعدي

Baldin Ahmad   بالدين أحمد

Awni Sami   عوني سامي

Araz Talib   آراز طالب

Lezing op 24 februari, om 20.00 in Kunstliefde, Nobelstraat 12A, Utrecht (www.kunstliefde.nl)

Floris Schreve

فلوريس سحرافا

(أمستردام، هولندا)

Opening (Sunday February 19th, 2012)

 

Qassim Alsaedy (l), Salam Djaaz (r)

Awni Sami (l), Baldin Ahmad (r)

Araz Talib

The writers/journalists Ishin Mohiddin (l), Karim Al-Najar (r)

Mrs Mayada al-Gharqoly of the Iraqi Embassy in the Netherlands. Behind her Martin van der Randen, curator of this exhibition

Mayada al-Gharqoly

Mounir Goran (ud), with the Dutch Kurdish Iraqi poet Baban Kirkuki

The Dutch Iraqi Kurdish writer Ibrahim Selman (l) with Qassim Alsaedy

From the left to the right: Baban Kirkuki, Mounir Goran, Qassim Alsaedy, Baldin Ahmad, Araz Talib, Salam Djaaz, Awni Sami

Finissage (Sunday March 18th, 2012)

Qassim Alsaedy with HE Dr. Saad Ibrahim al-Ali, Embassador of Iraq in the Netherlands

The embassador, with some other staff of the Embassy and some of the artists

Martin van der Randen with Baldin Ahmad

Baldin Ahmad and Salam Djaaz

Baldin Ahmad and Qassim Alsaedy

Baban Kirkuki, Salam Djaaz and Munir Goran

photos by Floris Schreve

An impression of the Arab contributions at the Venice Biennial 2011

http://onglobalandlocalart.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/an-impression-of-the-arab-contributions-at-the-venice-biennal-2011/

مساهمة الدول العربية في بينالي البندقية

An Impression of the contributions of several artists from the Arab world at the Venice Biennial 2011. Photos by Floris Schreve. An extensive article will follow later

The Future of a Promise

Curatorial Statement by Lina Nazaar:

“What does it mean to make a promise? In an age where the ‘promise of the future’ has become something of a cliché, what is meant by The Future of a Promise?

In its most basic sense, a promise is the manifestation of an intention to act or, indeed, the intention to refrain from acting in a specified way. A commitment is made on behalf of the promisee which suggests hope, expectation, and the assurance of a future deed committed to the best interests of all.

A promise, in sum, opens up a horizon of future possibilities, be they aesthetic, political, historical, social or indeed, critical. ‘The future of a promise’ aims to explore the nature of the promise as a form of aesthetic and socio-political transaction and how it is made manifest in contemporary visual culture in the Arab world today.

In a basic sense, there is a degree of promise in the way in which an idea is made manifest in a formal, visual context – the ‘promise’, that is, of potential meaning emerging in an artwork and its opening up to interpretation. There is also the ‘transaction’ between what the artist had in mind and the future (if not legacy) of that creative promise and the viewer. Whilst the artists included here are not representative of a movement as such, they do seek to engage with a singular issue in the Middle East today: who gets to represent the present-day realities and promise of the region and the horizons to which they aspire?

It is with this in mind that the show will enquire into the ‘promise’ of visual culture in an age that has become increasingly disaffected with politics as a means of social engagement. Can visual culture, in sum, respond to both recent events and the future promise implied in those events? And if so, what forms do those responses take?”

http://www.thefutureofapromise.com/index.php/about/view/curators_statement

The participating artists are Ziad Abillama (Lebanon), Ahmed Alsoudani (Iraq, zie ook see also this ealier contribuition) Ziad Antar (Lebanon), Jananne Al-Ani (Iraq), Kader Attia (Algeria/France), Ayman Baalbaki (Lebanon), Fayçal Baghriche (Algeria), Lara Baladi (Lebanon), Yto Barrada (France, Morocco), Taysir Batniyi (Palestine), Abdelkader Benchamma (France/Algeria), Manal Aldowayan (Saudi Arabia), Mounir Fatmi (Morocco, see this earlier contribution), Abdulnasser Gharem (Saudi Arabia), Mona Hatoum (Palestine/Lebanon), Raafat Ishak (Egypt), Emily Jacir (Palestine), Nadia Kaabi-Linke (Tunesia), Yazan Khalili (Palestine), Ahmed Mater (Saudi Arabia, see this earlier contribution), Driss Ouadahi (Algeria/Morocco) en Ayman Yossri Daydban (Saudi Arabia).

Mona Hatoum, Drowning sorrows (Gran Centenario), installatie van ‘doorgesneden’ glazen flessen, 2002, op ‘The Future of a Promise’, Biënnale van Venetië, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve

Mona Hatoum, Drowning Sorrows (detail)- photo Floris Schreve

‘Hatoum’s work is the presentation of identity as unable to identify with itself, but nevertheless grappling the notion (perhaps only the ghost) of identity to itself. Thus is exiled figured and plotted in the objects she creates (Said, “Art of displacement” 17).

‘Hatoum’s Drowning Sorrows distinctly exemplifies the “exile” Said denotes above. Drowning Sorrows displays the pain and beauty of being an exile without overtly supplying the tools with which to unhinge the paradox attached to it. It creates suggestive effects which ultimately lead the viewer towards its paradoxical ambiance. The work contains a circle of glass pieces drawn on a floor. The circle is made up of different shapes of glass flasks and, as they appear on the floor, it seems that the circle holds them afloat. The disparately angled glasses imply cuts from their sharp edges and their appearance is associated with a feeling of pain from the cut. This circle of glasses, therefore, signifies an exilic ache and embodies an authority to “figure” and “plot” the pain’.

The work signifies the reality of being unmoored from a fixed identity as the flasks are ambiguously put on a ground where they are perceived to be ungrounded. The appearance of the glasses is also unusual—we do not get to see their full shapes. As the artist’s imagination endows them with a symbolic meaning, they have been cut in triangular and rectangular forms of different sizes. These varieties of cut glasses speak of an undying pain that the exile suffers. In an exile’s life, irresolvable pain comes from dispossessions, uncertainty, and non-belonging. Being uprooted from a deep-seated identity, an exile finds him/herself catapulted into a perpetual flux; neither going back “home” nor a complete harmony with the adopted environment through adopting internally the “new” ideals is easily achievable. There exists an insuperable rift between his/her identity and locales which both are nevertheless integral parts of their identity. Hence, Hatoum portrays the exilic “identity as unable to identify with itself,” as Said puts it.

However, the glass edges above also represent that an exile’s experiences are nonetheless beautiful and worthy of celebration. The glass pieces show the experiences that an exilic traveller gathers in the journey of life. The journey is all about brokenness and difference. But an exile’s life becomes enriched in many ways by being filled up with varieties of knowledge and strengths accrued through encountering differences. Hatoum’s creation, therefore, befittingly captures these benefits by transferring them into an art work that bewitches the viewer through an unknown beauty. Being an expression of beauty, the art work is transformed into a celebration of “exile.” Despite “Drowning” in “Sorrows,” Hatoum’s work demonstrates an authority to give vent to the exilic pain through a work of beauty.

Ultimately, we see that an exile is not entirely drowned by the sorrows of loss. Notwithstanding the anguish, the exile gains the privilege to explore the conditions that create the pain; because the painfulness zeroes in on the very nature of identity formation. The exile has the privilege of reflecting on the reality surrounding his/her identity. Therefore, Hatoum’s glasses are not pieced together purposelessly; they depict the ambiguity that the exile feels towards identity. Her creative ambiguity makes us both enjoy the art and question the reality which we ourselves, exiles or not, find ourselves in. “Drowning Sorrows” shows a way to question the reality by being ambiguous towards it. Hatoum thus transmutes her exilic pain into a work of imagination which becomes an emblem of her artistic power through such suggestiveness.

From this point of view, Hatoum is an exemplary Saidian “exile” as she turns the reality of being uprooted from “home” into an intellectual power against the systematisation of identities. In Orientalism, Said distinguishes the dividing line that severs the supposedly superior Western culture from the ostensibly inferior one of the “Others.” He examines the modus operandi of such a disjunction. He studies power-structures to reveal how they dissociate cultures. Thus the Saidian “exile” develops independent criticisms of cultures in order to defeat the debilitating effects of discursivity that disconnect cultures. The “exile” thus sees the whole world as a foreign land captured in the power-knowledge nexus’.

From: Rehnuma Sazzad, Hatoum, Said and Foucault: Resistance through Revealing the Power-Knowledge Nexus? van Postcolonial Text, Vol 4, No 3 2008), see here

Emily Jacir, Embrace, 2005 (‘The Future of a Promise’, Venetië, 2011- foto Floris Schreve)

Embrace is a circular, motorised sculpture fabricated to look like an empy luggage conveyor system found in airports. It remains perfectly still and quiet, but when a viewer comes near the sculpture their presence activates the work; it turns on and starts moving. The work’s diameter refers to the height of the artist. The work symbolizes, amongst many things, waiting and the etymology of the word ‘embrace’.

Emily Jacir (statement for The Future of a Promise)

Ahmed Alsoudani, Untitled, acryl en houtskool op doek, 2010 (‘The Future of a Promise’, Venetië, 2011- foto Floris Schreve)

‘At the time I was in the tenth grade and I was spending hours reading Russian novels and poetry. Reading things like The Brothers Karamazow, The Idiot, War and Peace, Mayakovsky and Anna Akhmatova, and an anthology of poetry from the frontline of World War II- I can’t remember the title- helped me clarify my own circumstances and put the idea of leaving Iraq in my head. At that time in Iraq all ideas, even private thoughts, could land you in jail. As millions of Iraqis dreamt of leaving, I knew I had to plan carefully. (…) I left Baghdad in the middle of the afternoon and traveled by taxi to Kurdistan, which was under U.S. protection. We had to pass many heavily guarded checkpoints, but my older brother used his connections to bribe our way through. It cost him a lot of money. I stayed for a few weeks in Kurdistan, and later I met with an Iraqi opposition member who helped me cross into Syria (…) After I  escaped from Baghdad I spent four years in Syria. In the beginning life was pretty rough and lonely, but eventually I made a few friends. One in particular helped me tremendously- an Iraqi poet named Mohammed Mazlom who was a friend of my brother. He let me stay at his place in Damascus for a year and helped me get a job writing for the Iraqi opposition newspaper there. The big problem with Syria is that though they don’t bother you as an Iraqi exile, you can’t get the paperwork you need to be a legal resident either. You’re in a kind of a limbo: it’s almost if you don’t exist. I knew I would eventually have to leave there as well. In Damascus there is an office called UNHCR, which is a part of the United Nations. Every day the office is full of refugees waiting to get an application to leave. It was a complicated process but I decided after two years in this state of limbo to do it. It took almost a year of waiting but finally I got a meeting with someone from the US embassy. As someone writing for the Iraqi opposition in Syria my case was strong, and after several meetings they granted me political asylum’

(in Robert Goff, Cassie Rosenthal, Ahmed Alsoudani, Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern, Germany, 2009).

Ahmed Alsoudani, Untitled, acryl en houtskool op doek, 2010 (‘The Future of a Promise’, Venetië, 2011- foto Floris Schreve)

‘These turbulent paintings depict a disfigured tableau of war and atrocity. Although the content of the paintings draw on my own experiences of recent wars in Iraq, the imagery of devestation and violence- occasionally laced with a morbid and barbed humour-evoke universal experience of conflict and human suffering. Deformed figures, some almost indistinguishable and verging on the bestial, intertwine and distort in vivid, surreal landscapes. Figures are often depicted at a moment of transition- through fear and agony- from human to grotesque’

Ahmed Alsoudani (statement for The Future of a Promise)

Jananne Al-Ani, Aerial II, production still from Shadow Sites II, 2011 (bron: http://www.art-agenda.com/reviews/sharjah-biennial-10-plot-for-a-biennial-16-march-16-may-2011-and-art-dubai-16-19-march-2011/

The Aesthetics of Disappearance: A Land Without People – Jananne Al-Ani from Sharjah Art Foundation on Vimeo.

Jananne Al-Ani, Shadow Sites II, 2011 (The Future of a Promise, Venetië, 2011-foto Floris Schreve)

Jananne Al-Ani, Shadow Sites II, 2011 (The Future of a Promise, Venetië, 2011-foto Floris Schreve)

Jananne Al-Ani, Shadow Sites II, 2011 (The Future of a Promise, Venetië, 2011-foto Floris Schreve)

Shadow Sites II is a film that takes the form of an aerial journey. It is made up of images of landscape bearing traces of natural and manmade activity as well as ancient and contemporary structures. Seen from above, the landscape appears abstracted, its buildings flattened and its inhabitants invisible to the human eye. Only when the sun is at its lowest, do the features on the ground, the archeological sites and settlements come to light. Such ‘shadow sites’ when seen from the air, map the latent images by the landscape’s surface.  Much like a photographic plate, the landscape itself holds the potential to be exposed, thereby revealing the memory of its past. Historically, representations of the Middle Eastern landscape, from William Holman Hunt’s 1854 painting The Scapegoat (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scapegoat_(painting), FS) to media images from the 1991 Desert Storm campaign have depicted the region as uninhabited and without sign of civilization. In response to the military’s use of digital technology and satellite navigation, Shadow Sites II recreates the aerial vantage point of such missions while taking an altogether different viewpoint of the land it surveys. The film burrows into the landscape as one image slowly dissolves in another, like a mineshaft tunneling deep into substrate of memories preserved over time’.

Jananne Al-Ani (statement The Future of a Promise)

.

Ahmed Mater, The Cowboy Code, op ‘The Future of a Promise’, Biënnale van Venetië, 2011 (foto Floris Schreve)

Mater in his statement about ‘Antenna’:

“Antenna is a symbol and a metaphor for growing

up in Saudi Arabia. As children, we used to climb

up to the roofs of our houses and hold these

television antennas up to the sky.

We were trying to catch a signal from beyond the

nearby border with Yemen or Sudan; searching –

like so many of my generation in Saudi –

for music, for poetry, for a glimpse of a different

kind of life. I think this work can symbolise the

whole Arab world right now… searching for a

different kind of life through other stories and

other voices. This story says a lot about my life

and my art; I catch art from the story of my life,

I don’t know any other way”.

Ahmed Mater

Ahmed Mater, Antenna, op ‘The Future of a Promise’, Biënnale van Venetië, 2011 (foto Floris Schreve)

Spring Cleaning! By Franck Hermann Ekra (winner of 2010 AICA Incentive Prize for Young Critics):

The lost Springs, Mounir Fatmi’s minimal installation, displays the 22 flags of the states of the Arab League at half mast. In the Tunisian and Egyptian pavilions, two brooms refer to the upheavals that led to the fall of President Ben Ali in Tunisia and President Mubarak in Egypt. This evocative, subtle and trenchant work of art has been inspired by the current protests against neo-patriarchal powers in the Maghreb, the Mashriq and the Arabian Peninsula.

In the anthropology  of the state, the flag is  a symbol rich in identity and attribution. It is a part of a secular liturgy which establishes  a holy space for the politically sacred.  Mounir Fatmi seems to have captured this with his intuition of an iconic device halfway between the altar and the universalizing official dramaturgy. He gets to the core of democratic representation, on the capacity to metaphorically catalyse the civil link. There is a touch of the domestic in his contemporary heraldry.

Mounir Fatmi, Aborted Revolutions (installation), 2011-Photo Floris Schreve

The necessary cleansing that Mounir Fatmi suggests does not concern the community but rather the dictators who dream themselves as demiurges. It calls for action-creation. The Brooms ironically point to some dynamic process and stimulating imitation effect.  Who’s next? What else should be dusted? Where has the rubbish been hidden?

Though the aesthetics of sweeping, the artist testifies to some timeless spring. A standard bearer of the pan-Arabic revolutionary revivalism and its enchanting Utopia, he breaks away from the prevailing monotony of always disenchanted tomorrows, irreverently using the devices of complicity through self-sufficient references, and blurring the familiar novel and popular romance. Giving his work an essential and symbolic function, he dematerializes it, as if to repeat over and over again that symbols are food for thought’.

From ’The Future of a Promise’.

Abdulnasser Gharem, The Stamp (Amen), rubber on wooden stamp, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

‘My relationship with the urban environment is reciprocal; streets and the cities inspire a particularly critical reaction. As a socially engaged artist, I need to take back to the people, to the city, to the built environment.

In previous works I have related the story of social environments marked for destruction, regardless of the fate of the people who live in it, or of disaster arising from a misplaced trust in the security of concrete. With the current work, I turn my attention to the false promise of the manufactured modern city.

Viewing 3D models for the future cities springing up across the Gulf, focuses attention on the disjunction between the apparent utopia of the future they appear to offer and the daily, complex and problematic reality of our actual urban lives.

These cities can be a distraction, a vehicle exploited by bureaucracies who wish to divert the attention of a sophisticated population away from a reality which is not model. Through the use of stamps, I underline the inevitable stultifying and complicating effect the bureaucracy will have, even as it works to build its vision for a better society. Why do we look to an utopian future when we have social issues we need to address now? I am not opposed to this brave new world but I want to see governments engage with the streets and cities, and the problems of their people, as they are now. Why built new cities when there are poor people we need to look after? This is a distraction: we should not be afraid to change.

Abdulnasser Gharem  (statement for The Future of a Promise)

http://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/xnbbqj
Saudi artist captures Arab Spring door CNN_International

Manal Aldowayan, Suspended Together, installation, 2011 (detail)

On Manal Al-Dowayan:

Suspended Together is an installation that gives the impression of a movement and freedom.

However, a closer look at the 200 doves brings the realization that the doves are actually frozen and suspended, with no hope of flight. An even closer look shows that each dove carries on its body the permission document that allows a Saudi woman to travel. Notwithstanding the circumstances, all Saudi women are required to have this document, issued by their appointed male guardian.

The artist reached out to a large group of leading female figures from Saudi Arabia to donate their permission documents for inclusion in this artwork. Suspended Together carries the documents of award-winning scientists, educators, journalists, engineers, artists and leaders with groundbreaking achievements that contributed  to society.  The youngest contributor is six months old and the oldest is 60 years old. In the artist’s words: ‘regardless of age and achievement, when it comes to travel, all these women are treated like a flock of suspended doves’.

http://universes-in-universe.org/eng/bien/venice_biennale/2011/tour/the_future_of_a_promise/manal_al_dowayan

Manal Aldowayan, Suspended Together, installation, 2011

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Flying Carpets, installation, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

The Flying Carpet is an Oriental fairytale, a dream of instantaneous and boundless travel, but when I visited Venice I saw that illegal immigrants use carpets to fly the coop. They sell counterfeit goods in order to make some money for living. If they are caught by the police they risk expulsion.

There was a butcher in Tunis who wanted to honour Ben Ali. His idea was to call his shop ‘Butcher shop of the 7th November’, the day when Ben Ali assumed the presidency in a ‘medical’ coup d’ état from then President Habib Bourguiba. After he did so, he disappeared without a trace.

In winter 2010, I visited Cairo, a city which has more citizens than the country I was born. This metropolis is characterized by strong contradictions: tradition and modernism, culture and illiteracy, poverty and wealth, bureaucracy and spirituality. All voices fade through the noisy hustle of this melting pot, but if you risk a closer look on the walls you will find the whisper of the people carved into stone.

The three works document  the crossing of borders: traversing the European border leads to problems of being a EU citizen or not; the wide line between insult and homage was transgressed through the unspoken proximity of slaughter and governance of the former Tunesian regime; and the longing for freedom in the police state of Cairo was already written into the walls of the city’

Nadia Kaabi-Linke

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Butcher bliss, mixed media, 2010

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Impression of Cairo, mixed media, 2010 (detail)

The Future of a Promise, with works of (ao) Nadia Kaabi-Linke and Emily Jacir

The Pavilion of Egypt

http://www.ahmedbasiony.com/images/pdf/e-flux.pdf

Right: Ahmed Basiony, “30 Days of Running in the Place” documentation footage, February–March2010, Palace of the Arts Gallery, Opera House Grounds, Cairo, Egypt.

Left: Ahmed Basiony, 28th of January (Friday of Rage) 6:50 pm, Tahrir Square. Photo taken by Magdi Mostafa.

Biennale di Arte / 54th International Venice Biennale

Egyptian Pavilion, 2011

30 Days of Running in the Place

Honoring Ahmed Basiony (1978–2011)

Opening reception:

3 June 2011 at 4:15 PM

Runs until 27 November 2011

www.ahmedbasiony.com

Ahmed Basiony (1978–2011) was a crucial component as an artist and professor to the use of new media technology in his artistic and socio-cultural research. He designed projects, each working in its own altering direction out of a diversity of domains in order to expose a personal account experienced through the function of audio and visual material. Motioning through his artistic projects, with an accurate eye of constant visibility, and invisibility, while listening to audio material that further relayed the mappings of social information: Whether in the study of the body, locomotion through a street, the visual impact of a scream versus data representation in the form of indecipherable codes. The artist functioned as a contemporary documentarian; only allowing the archival of data the moment it came in, and no longer there after.

30 Days of Running in the Place is the play of a video documentation to a project that had taken place one year ago. Marking a specific time when the artist had performed a particular demonstration of running, in order to anticipate a countering digital reaction; the aim was to observe how in the act of running in a single standing point, with sensors installed in the soles of his shoes, and on his body [to read levels of body heat], could it had been translated into a visual diagram only to be read in codes, and visually witness the movement of energy and physical consumption become born into an image.

One year later, the uprisings to the Egyptian revolution took on Basiony’s attention, as it had millions of other Egyptians motioning through the exact same states of social consumption. It was from then on, for a period of four days, did Basiony film with his digital and phone camera, the events of downtown Cairo and Tahrir Square, leading to his death on the night of the January 28th, 2011.

An evolution of universal networks created out of audio, visual and electronic communications, blurring the distinction between interpersonal communication, and that of the masses, Basiony’s works only existed in real-time, and then after that they became part of the archives of research he invested into making. It is with this note, we collectively desired, under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, to recognize and honor the life and death of an artist who was fully dedicated to the notions of an Egypt, that to only recently, demanded the type of change he was seeking his entire life.

A gesture of 30 years young, up against 30 years of a multitude of disquieted unrest.

Curatorial Team

Aida Eltorie, Curator

Shady El Noshokaty, Executive Curator

Magdi Mostafa, Sound & Media Engineering

Hosam Hodhod, Production Assistant

Website: http://www.ahmedbasiony.com

Contact: info@ahmedbasiony.com

http://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/xkjond Ahmed Basiony: Thirty Days of Running in the… door vernissagetv

My own impression:

Ahmed Basiony, 30 days of running in the space, video installation, Pavilion of Egypt, Venice Biennial, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

Ahmed Basiony, 30 days of running in the space, video installation, Pavilion of Egypt, Venice Biennial, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

Ahmed Basiony, 30 days of running in the space, video installation, Pavilion of Egypt, Venice Biennial, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

Ahmed Basiony, 30 days of running in the space, video installation, Pavilion of Egypt, Venice Biennial, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

Ahmed Basiony, 30 days of running in the space, video installation, Pavilion of Egypt, Venice Biennial, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

Ahmed Basiony, 30 days of running in the space, video installation, Pavilion of Egypt, Venice Biennial, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

Ahmed Basiony, 30 days of running in the space, video installation, Pavilion of Egypt, Venice Biennial, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

Photos by Floris Schreve

The Pavilion of Saudi Arabia

http://www.thisistomorrow.info/viewArticle.aspx?artId=823

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Pavilion, Arsenale, Venice, Italy, 6 Jun 2011

The Black Arch

Title : The Black Arch, installation view Credit : Courtesy Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Pavilion

//


Press Release Abdulaziz Alsebail, Commissioner, is pleased to announce that Shadia and Raja Alem will represent the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its inaugural pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia, Mona Khazindar1 and Robin Start2 will curate The Black Arch, an installation by the two artists. The work of Shadia and Raja Alem can be read as a double narrative. Raja the writer, and Shadia the visual artist, have a non-traditional artist’s background. While having had a classical and literary education the sisters acquired knowledge through their encounters with pilgrims visiting Makkah. Their family had welcomed pilgrims into their home during the Hajj for generations. Since the mid 1980s, the sisters have travelled the world for exhibitions, lectures, and for the general exploration and appreciation of art and literature, and in some way seeking the origins of cultures and civilizations that sparked their imagination through the stories of the visitors to Makkah throughout their childhood. The Black Arch was created through a profound collaboration between Shadia and Raja Alem. It is very much about a meeting point of the two artists; of two visions of the world; from darkness to light, and of two cities – Makkah and Venice. The work is a stage, set to project the artists’ collective memory of Black – the monumental absence of colour – and physical representation of Black, referring to their past. The narrative is fuelled by the inspirational tales told by their aunts and grandmothers, and is anchored in Makkah, where the sisters grew up in the 1970s. The experience with the physical presence of Black, the first part of the installation, is striking for the artists; Raja explains, “I grew up aware of the physical presence of Black all around, the black silhouettes of Saudi women, the black cloth of the Al ka’ba3 and the black stone4 which is said to have enhanced our knowledge.” As a counter-point, the second part of the installation is a mirror image, reflecting the present. These are the aesthetic parameters of the work. The Black Arch is also about a journey, about transition; inspired by Marco Polo and fellow 13th century traveller Ibn Battuta5 – both examples of how to bridge cultures through travel. Shadia explains how she felt a desire to follow Marco Polo’s example and “to bring my city of Makkah to Venice, through objects brought from there: a Black Arch; a cubic city, and a handful of Muzdalifah pebbles.6” The artists focus on the similarities between the two cosmopolitan cities and their inspirational powers. The double vision of two women, two sisters, two artists unfolds in a world of ritual and tradition which, however, confronts the day-to-day reality of human behaviour with simplicity. “If the doors of perception were cleared, everything would appear to man as it really is, infinite.”  William Blake.

See also the extensive documentation on the website of the Saudi Pavilion: http://saudipavilionvenice.com/

Impression by Floris Schreve:

Raja & Shadia Alem, The Black Arch, installation, Venice Biennial, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

Raja & Shadia Alem, The Black Arch, installation, Venice Biennial, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

Raja & Shadia Alem, The Black Arch, installation, Venice Biennial, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

Raja & Shadia Alem, The Black Arch, installation, Venice Biennial, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

Raja & Shadia Alem, The Black Arch, installation, Venice Biennial, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

Raja & Shadia Alem, The Black Arch, installation, Venice Biennial, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

Raja & Shadia Alem, The Black Arch, installation, Venice Biennial, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

The Pavilion of Iraq; my own impression

Introduction of the curator Mary Angela Shroth:

“These are extraordinary times for Iraq. The project to create an official country Pavilion for the 54. Biennale di Venezia is a multiple and participatory work in progress since 2004. It is historically coming at a period of great renewal after more than 30 years of war and conflict in that country.

The Pavilion of Iraq will feature six internationally-known contemporary Iraqi artists who are emblematic in their individual experimental artistic research, a result of both living inside and outside their country. These artists, studying Fine Arts in Baghdad, completed their arts studies in Europe and USA. They represent two generations: one, born in the early 1950′s, has experienced both the political instability and the cultural richness of that period in Iraq. Ali Assaf, Azad Nanakeli and Walid Siti came of age in the 1970′s during the period of the creation of political socialism that marked their background. The second generation, to include Adel Abidin, Ahmed Alsoudani and Halim Al Karim, grew up during the drama of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), the invasion of Kuwait, overwhelming UN economic sanctions and subsequent artistic isolation. This generation of artists exited the country before the 2003 invasion, finding refuge in Europe and USA by sheer fortune coupled with the artistic virtue of their work. All six artists thus have identities indubitably forged with contemporary artistic practice that unites the global situation with the Iraqi experience and they represent a sophisticated and experimental approach that is completely international in scope.

The six artists will execute works on site that are inspired by both the Gervasuti Foundation space and the thematic choice of water. This is a timely interpretation since the lack of water is a primary source of emergency in Iraq, more than civil war and terrorism. A documentary by Oday Rasheed curated by Rijin Sahakian will feature artists living and working in Iraq today.

The Pavilion of Iraq has been produced thanks to Shwan I. Taha and Reem Shather-Kubba/Patrons Committee, corporate and individual contributors, Embassy of the Republic of Iraq and generous grants from the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, Hussain Ali Al-Hariri, and Nemir & Nada Kirdar. Honorary Patron is the architect Zaha Hadid“.

Azad Nanakeli, Destnuej (purification), Video Installation, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

‘In my language Destnuej means ‘purification’, to cleanse the body from all sins. When I was a boy, water for daily use was extracted from wells for drinking, cooking and washing. Long ago the water from the wells was clear and pure, but already at that time, however, things had changed: my friends who lived in the same area suffered from illness linked to contaminated water. My nephew contracted malaria and died. Since then, much has changed and the wells no longer exist. As in most places they were replaced by aqueducts but the problem persists. Residues of every shape and substance are poured incessantly into the water, poisoning rivers and oceans.

Toxic waste, nuclear by-products, and various chemicals multiply inexorably, seeping into groundwater. Slowly, day after day, they enter into our bodies. For these reasons, the water is no longer pure. Drinking, cooking, washing. Purifying. Purification is an ancient ritual, disseminated in the four corners of the world.

The man who continues to drink this water contaminates his own body. The man who uses it to purify himself contaminates himself.

My work is based on and motivated by these themes, which are also linked to general degradation man causes to the environment around us’.

Azad Nanakeli, March 2011

From: Ali Assaf, Mary Angela Shroth, Acqua Ferita/Wounded Water; Six Iraqi artists interpret the theme of water, Gangemi editore, Venice Biennale, 2011, p. 52

Azad Nanakeli, Au (Water), Mixed Media Installation with audio, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

‘Au’ means water in Kurdish. It is present on our planet in enormous quantities. For the most part, however, it is not available for use: it is salt water that makes up our oceans and glaciers.

The remaining quantity, which we use for the needs of mankind, might be considered sufficient for the moment, but the resources are not unlimited. The need for water increases in an exponential way, with the rise of the world population, and in a few years time the supply might be in jeopardy.

Add to the man’s carelessness and irresponsibility. We waste and pollute water supplies in the name of progress, of consumerism and of economic interests.

It is estimated that within the next twenty years consumption is destined to increase by 40%. What’s more, already today a large part of the world’s population does not have access to clean water sources; among them are the people of the Middle East.

In ancient days and until a few decades ago, these sources existed throughout the territory. They were called oasis. Today after the building of dams by Turkey in the 70’s and by Syria in the 80’s, and the relentless draining of 15,000 square kilometers of Iraqi land (a decision by the regime) everything has changed: where there was once fertile land, there is now desert and desolation.

The World Bank estimates that, by 2035, only 90% of the population of Western Asia, including the Arab Peninsula,  will be without water. The small quantity that will still be available will be directed to urban areas, while the countryside will drown in inescapable aridity.

The accumulation of refuse of large urban and industrial areas over the years had created further danger and damage to the integrity of its precious resource.

Underground water levels are polluted by toxic substances. Non-biodegradable materials from refuse dumps accumulate in canals and oceans.

This work emulates the disturbing images from the media of islands composed entirely of accumulated waste.

Azad Nanakeli, March, 2011

Acqua Ferita, p. 56

Halim Al Karim, Nations Laundry, video installation, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

Nations Laundry

In this video (Nations Laundry), the idea and materials used to reflect the concepts of threat, apprehension, and survival in matters of our environment. Within this work, my aim is to create an awareness that may, in turn, help bring about positive changes to our failing environmental systems that came as a result of yours and our wars.

Halim Al-Karim, March 2011

Acqua Ferita, p. 58

Halim Al Karim, Hidden Love 3, fotograph lambda-print, 2010 (photo Floris Schreve)

Halim al Karim (overview- source http://www.modernism.ro/2011/08/29/six-iraqi-artists-acqua-ferita-wounded-water-iraq-pavilion-the-54th-international-art-exhibition-of-the-venice-biennale/)

My works dwell on the envolving mentality of urban society. I am concerned with ongoing and unresolved issues, particularly when they relate to violence. I search both through the layers of collective memory and my personal experience in that context.

In this process, the main challenge for me is to identify and stay clear of the historical and contemporary elements of brainwash.

Through these works I try to visualize an urban society free of violence. These out of focus images, sometimes rendered more mysterious under a veil of silk, imply uncertainty of context, time and place. These techniques, which have become the hallmark of my work, are a means to overcome the effects of politics of deception and, in turn, transform me and the camera into single truth seeking entity.

Halim Al-Karim, March 2011

Acqua Ferita, p. 58

Ahmed Alsoudani (overview- source http://www.modernism.ro/2011/08/29/six-iraqi-artists-acqua-ferita-wounded-water-iraq-pavilion-the-54th-international-art-exhibition-of-the-venice-biennale/)

‘My deepest memories are central to my painting but it is often easier only to look at the surface; to see war, torture and violence and even to consider my art only in terms of the present Iraq war. My own approach is different from anything related to the first impression. I am interested in memory and history, and in the potent areas between the two that enable me to keep memories alive in the present. As an artist, it is important not to get obsessed with my subject matter. I need critical distance. Some of the events that inform my paintings are things I have personally experienced while others I have heard about from family or close friends. These events are refashioned  in my imagination in such a way that I am able to look at them both very personally and with some distance. If I were too personal and too literal about these subjects I would be overly emotional and that would negatively affect the work, I would take it into a place which is something other than art. In order for these works to survive as art I need the distance my interior process of distilling my subject matter affords me. In terms of Iraq, I care deeply about the country and the people there. My work is not intended to be a first person account on war, atrocity or the effect of totalitarianism in Iraq in the last twenty years; in fact I think there are universal and common aspects to these things throughout history and different parts of the world and I hope viewers will see this in my paintings in Venice’.

Ahmed Alsoudani, New York, april, 2011 (from Ali Assaf, Mary Angela Shroth, Acqua Ferita/Wounded Water; Six Iraqi artists interpret the theme of water, Gangemi editore, Venice Biennale, 2011)

Walid Siti, Beauty-spot, installation, 2011 (http://fnewsmagazine.com/2011/07/biennale-binge-part-2/ )

Beauty Spot

The Gali Ali Breg (Gorge of Ali Beg) waterfall is part of Hamilton Road, built in 1932 under the guidance of New Zealand engineer Sir Archibald Milne Hamilton to link Erbil with the Iranian border. The waterfall had long been a tourist destination, featured in Iraqi publications and on the current  5000 Iraqi Dinar note.

Two years ago a drought afflicted the region, and left the waterfall dry in the summer seasons. This prompted the Kurdish government to hire a Lebanese company to divert water to the falls, which involved pumping 250 cubic meters of water per second. The imagery on the note thus remained intact.

Walid Siti, 2011

Acqua Ferita, p. 64

Walid Siti, Mes0 (detail), Mylar mirror, twill tape, nylon fishing line and wood, 2011 (source: http://www.modernism.ro/2011/08/29/six-iraqi-artists-acqua-ferita-wounded-water-iraq-pavilion-the-54th-international-art-exhibition-of-the-venice-biennale/)

Walid Siti,   Meso (detail), Mylar mirror, twill tape, nylon fishing line and wood, 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

Meso 2011

From the air, the Great Zab River near Erbil forms a snaking, green body of water in a dry, golden landscape. Though beautiful, the sight also reveals the skeletons of dried out rivers and streams that once contributed to its flow. This piece exposes the fragility of the Great Zab (one of the main tributaries to the Tigris River), now exposed to the lurking threats of drought, rapid development and political tugs-of-war.

Walid Siti, 2011

Acqua Ferita, p. 64

Adel Abidin, Consumptions of War, Video Projection and amorphic installation (photo Floris Schreve- see here a compilation)

Adel Abidin, Consumptions of War, Video Projection and amorphic installation (photo Floris Schreve- see here a compilation)

Adel Abidin, Consumptions of War, Video Projection and amorphic installation (photo Floris Schreve- see here a compilation)

Adel Abidin, Consumptions of War, Video Projection and amorphic installation (photo Floris Schreve- see here a compilation)

Adel Abidin, Consumptions of War, Video Projection and amorphic installation (photo Floris Schreve- see here a compilation)

Consumption of War explores the environmental crisis through the participatory crisis and spectator culture of profit driven bodies. Today, global corporate entities encourage consumption on a massive scale for maximum profit, disregarding the obscene amounts of water needed to produce ‘necessities’ such as a pair of jeans or cup of coffee. In Iraq, major corporations have signed the largest free oil exploration deals in history. Yet while every barrel of oil extracted requires 1.5 barrels of water, 1 out of every 4 citizens has no access to clean drinking water.

In a corporate office, two men compete in a childish battle inspired by Star Wars, using fluorescent lights as swords. Each light is consumed until the darkened room marks the game’s abrupt end. Alternating between lush and dry, attractive and foolish, this is a landscape of false promises and restricted power’

Adel Abidin, March 2011, Acqua Ferita, p. 34

Narciso – Alì Assaf from EcoArt Project on Vimeo.

Ali Assaf, still from Narciso (photo Floris Schreve)

For the 2011 Biennale I have conceived two works. Between them, they approach several aspects following my recent visit to my hometown, Al Basrah, where I lived till the age of 18 and where the majority of my gamily still resides.

Narciso

In my parents’ house in Al Basrah, I found myself turning the pages of an old schoolbook on Caravaggio (1571-1610). Before an illustration of his ‘Narciso’, these questions came to mind:

‘What would happen today if Narcissus saw himself in the water?’

‘Would he be able to see his image in today’s polluted water?’

‘And myself? If I was able to see my image in the waters of Al Basrah, what would I see?’

In this manner my return to Al Basrah had the meaning of reflecting myself in my own history and in its own in-depth and intimate personal identity. But it was impossible to do, because I found this identity led astray and darkened.

Ali Assaf, al-Basrah, the Venice of the East (installation), 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

Ali Assaf, al-Basrah, the Venice of the East (installation), 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

Ali Assaf, al-Basrah, the Venice of the East (installation), 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

Ali Assaf, al-Basrah, the Venice of the East (installation), 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

Ali Assaf,  al-Basrah, the Venice of the East (detail), 2011 (photo Floris Schreve)

Al Basrah, the Venice of the East

My arrival at the border between Kuwait and Iraq was a shock.

A profound sense of frustration when confronted with this reality.

‘ There was nothing left from those memories that were so important to my survival. Only destruction and ugliness. The surviving friends and family had aged, the Shatt al-Arab River had become saline.

The canals had dried up and were a deposit for refuse and garbage, the historic buildings destroyed or substituted by illegal constructions, the dates were contaminated.

The Shenashil built of wood (with their Indo-English balconies) were abandoned to their own devices, to the sun and rain, they had lost their charm and characteristic beauty. These places were corroded by humidity and lack of care, marked by war and the embargo.

All without a trace of poetry.

Ali Assaf, 2011

Acqua Ferita, p. 46

Me in the Black Arch

Floris Schreve

فلوريس سحرافا

(أمستردام، هولندا)

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Kunstenaars uit de Arabische wereld in Nederland (verschenen in Eutopia nr. 27, april 2011 ‘Diversiteit in de Beeldende Kunst’) – فنانون من العالم العربي في هولندا

Mijn artikel, dat afgelopen voorjaar in Eutopia is verschenen (Eutopia nr. 27, april 2011, themanummer ‘Diversiteit in de Beeldende Kunst’, zie hier). Het artikel heb ik echter geschreven in het najaar van 2010, dus nog vóór de opstanden in de Arabische wereld. Hoewel het onderwerp natuurlijk kunstenaars uit de Arabische wereld in Nederland was, zou ik er zeker een opmerking over hebben gemaakt. De Arabische Lente, die in Tunesië begon nadat op 17 december 2010 in Sidi Bouzid de 27 jarige Mohamed Bouazizi zichzelf in brand stak en daarmee de onvrede van de relatief jonge Arabische bevolking met de zittende dictatoriale regimes van de diverse landen een gezicht gaf, is, los van hoe de ontwikkelingen verder zullen gaan, natuurlijk een historische mijlpaal zonder weerga. Maar het begin van de Arabische opstanden voltrok zich precies tussen het moment dat ik onderstaande bijdrage had ingestuurd (november 2010) en de uiteindelijke verschijning in mei 2011.   In een later geschreven bijdrage voor Kunstbeeld, over moderne en hedendaagse kunst in de Arabische wereld zelf, heb ik wel aandacht aan deze ontwikkelingen besteed, zie hier.

Het nummer van Eutopia was vrijwel geheel gewijd aan kunstenaars uit Iran in Nederland. In de verschillende bijdragen van Özkan Gölpinar, Neil van der Linden, Robert Kluijver, Dineke Huizenga, Bart Top, Marja Vuijsje, Wanda Zoet en anderen kwamen vooral Iraanse kunstenaars aan bod, als Soheila Najand, Atousa Bandeh Ghiasabadi, Farhad Foroutanian, (de affaire) Sooreh Hera en nog een aantal anderen. In mijn bijdrage heb ik me gericht op de kunstenaars uit de Arabische landen, die wonen en werken in Nederland, die ook een belangrijke rol speelden in mijn scriptie-onderzoek.

De tekst is vrijwel dezelfde als die van de gedrukte versie, alleen heb ik een flink aantal weblinks toegevoegd, die verwijzen naar websites van individuele kunstenaars, achtergrondartikelen en documentaires, of radio- en televisie-uitzendingen.

Hieronder mijn bijdrage aan dit themanummer:

Kunstenaars uit de Arabische wereld in Nederland 

فنانون من العالم العربي في هولندا

Naast dat er een aantal uit Iran afkomstige kunstenaars in ons land actief zijn, zijn er ook veel kunstenaars uit de Arabische landen, die wonen en werken in Nederland. Je zou deze groep migrantkunstenaars in drie categorieën kunnen verdelen.

Allereerst zijn er zo’n twintig kunstenaars die vanaf de jaren zeventig naar Europa en uiteindelijk naar Nederland kwamen om hun opleiding te voltooien en hier gebleven zijn. Te denken valt aan Nour-Eddine Jarram  en Bouchaib Dihaj (Marokko),  Abousleiman (Libanon), Baldin (Iraaks Koerdistan), Saad Ali  (Irak, inmiddels verhuisd naar Frankrijk), Essam Marouf , Shawky Ezzat, Achnaton Nassar (Egypte) en van een iets latere lichting Abdulhamid Lahzami en Chokri Ben Amor (Tunesië) .  [1]

Achnaton Nassar, bijvoorbeeld, kwam naar Nederland om verder te studeren aan de Rijksacademie. Hij werd in 1952 in Qena, Egypte, geboren en studeerde aan de universiteiten van Alexandrië en Cairo. Hier werd hij opgeleid in de islamitische traditie, waarbij het Arabische alfabet als uitgangspunt diende. Nassar vond dit te beperkt. De drang om zich verder te ontwikkelen dreef hem naar Europa. Na een studie architectuur in het Griekse Saloniki deed Nassar zijn toelatingsexamen voor de Rijksacademie, te Amsterdam. Daarna vestigde hij zich in 1982 in Amstelveen.

Het grootste deel van Nassars werk bestaat uit abstracte tekeningen, waarbij hij verschillende technieken inzet. In zijn composities verwijst Nassar vaak naar de abstracte vormtaal van de islamitische kunst en het Arabische schrift, al verwerkt hij deze met de organische vormen die hij hier in bijvoorbeeld het Amsterdamse bos aantreft, dat vlakbij zijn atelier ligt.  [2]

In de jaren negentig heeft Nassar een serie popart-achtige figuratieve werken gemaakt, die een dwarse kijk geven op het toen net oplaaiende debat over ‘de multiculturele samenleving’. In deze serie werken combineert Nassar clichébeelden van wat de Nederlandse identiteit zou zijn, met clichébeelden die hier bestaan van de Arabische cultuur. Door op een ironische manier beide stereoptype beelden te combineren, worden beiden gerelativeerd of ontzenuwd.

Een voorbeeld is het hier getoonde paneel uit de periode 1995-2000. Het werk verwijst naar het bankbiljet voor duizend gulden, waarop het portret van Spinoza staat weergegeven. Door kleine interventies is het beeld van betekenis veranderd. Het gebruikelijke 1000 gulden is vervangen met 1001 Nacht en ‘De Nederlandsche Bank’ is veranderd in ‘De Wereldliteratuurbank’. Het biljet is getekend door president N. Mahfouz op 22 juli 1952, de dag van de Egyptische revolutie en bovendien Nassars geboortedag. Een opmerkelijk detail zijn de met goudverf aangebrachte lijnen in het gezicht van Spinoza. Deze lijnen, die lopen vanaf het profiel van de neus via de rechter wenkbrauw naar het rechteroog, vormen het woord Baruch in het Arabisch, Spinoza’s voornaam. Op deze wijze plaatst Nassar een Nederlands symbool als het duizend gulden biljet in een nieuwe context. Spinoza was immers in zijn tijd ook een vreemdeling, namelijk een nazaat van Portugese Joden. Met een werk als dit stelt Nassar belangrijke vragen over nationale versus hybride identiteit en maakt hij een statement over de betrekkelijkheid van symboliek als een statisch referentiepunt van nationale identificatie. [3]

Ook de andere figuratieve werken van Nassar staan vol met dit soort verwijzingen. De essentie van zijn werk ligt in hoe de een naar de ander kijkt en de ander weer naar de één. De ‘oosterling’ kijkt naar de ‘westerling’ volgens een bepaald mechanisme, maar Nassar heeft vooral dit thema in omgekeerde richting verwerkt: wat is de cultureel bepaalde blik van het ‘Westen’ naar de ‘Oriënt’?

Achnaton Nassar, Zonder titel, acryl op paneel, 1995-1996 (afb. collectie van de kunstenaar)

Met zijn beeldinterventies legt Nassar valse neo-koloniale en exotistische structuren bloot, die in het westerse culturele denken bestaan. Hiermee raakt hij een belangrijk punt van de westerse cultuurgeschiedenis. Volgens de Palestijnse literatuurwetenschapper Edward Said bestaat er een groot complex aan cultureel bepaalde vooroordelen in de westerse culturele canon wat betreft de ‘Oriënt’. In zijn belangrijkste werk, Orientalism  (1978), heeft hij erop gewezen dat de beeldvorming van het westen van de Arabische wereld vooral wordt bepaald door enerzijds een romantisch exotisme en anderzijds door een reactionaire kracht die, in de wil tot overheersing, de ‘irrationaliteit’ van de ‘Oriënt’ wil indammen, daar zij nooit zelf in staat zou zijn om tot vernieuwingen te komen. Said heeft in zijn belangrijke wetenschappelijke oeuvre (Orientalism en latere werken) de onderliggende denkstructuren blootgelegd, die hij toeschrijft aan het imperialistische gedachtegoed, een restant dat is gebleven na de koloniale periode en nog steeds zijn weerslag vindt in bijvoorbeeld de wetenschap (zie Bernard Lewis, maar van iets later bijvoorbeeld ook de notie van de ‘Clash of Civilizations’ van Samuel Huntington, die sterk op het gedachtegoed van Lewis is geïnspireerd- het begrip ‘Clash of Civilizations’ is zelfs ontleend aan een passage uit Lewis’ artikel The Roots of the Muslim Rage uit 1990), de media en de politiek. [4] Ook voor het debat in de hedendaagse kunst is Saids bijdrage van groot belang geweest. Op dit moment speelt het discours zich af tussen processen van uitsluiting, het toetreden van de ander (maar daarbij het insluipende gevaar van exotisme), of gewoon dat goede kunst van ieder werelddeel afkomstig kan zijn.

De overgrote meerderheid van de kunstenaars uit de Arabische wereld in Nederland bestaat vooral uit kunstenaars uit Irak, die grotendeels in de jaren negentig naar Nederland zijn gekomen als politiek vluchteling voor het vroegere Iraakse regime. Het gaat hier om zo’n tachtig beeldende kunstenaars, zowel van Arabische als Koerdische afkomst. Naast beeldende kunstenaars zijn er overigens ook veel dichters (bijv. Salah Hassan, Naji Rahim, Chaalan Charif  en al-Galidi ), schrijvers (Mowaffk al-Sawad  en Ibrahim Selman), musici (zoals het beroemde Iraqi Maqam ensemble van Farida Mohammed Ali, de fluitist / slagwerker Sattar Alsaadi, de zanger Saleh Bustan en het Koerdische gezelschap Belan, van oa Nariman Goran) en acteurs (bijv. Saleh Hassan Faris) in die tijd naar Nederland gekomen. [5]

Beeldende kunstenaars uit Irak die zich de afgelopen jaren in Nederland hebben gemanifesteerd zijn oa Ziad Haider (helaas overleden in 2006, zie ook dit artikel op dit blog), Aras Kareem (zie ook hier op dit blog), Monkith Saaid  (helaas overleden in 2008), Ali Talib , Afifa Aleiby, Nedim Kufi (zie op dit blog hier en hier), Halim al Karim (verhuisd naar de VS, overigens nu op de Biënnale van Venetië, zie dit artikel), Salman al-Basri, Mohammed Qureish, Hoshyar Rasheed (zie ook op dit blog), Sadik Kwaish Alfraji, Sattar Kawoosh , Iman Ali , Hesam Kakay, Fathel Neema, Salam Djaaz, Araz Talib, Hareth Muthanna, Awni Sami, Fatima Barznge en vele anderen. [6]

Een Iraakse kunstenaar, die sinds de laatste jaren steeds meer boven de horizon van ook de Nederlandse gevestigde kunstinstellingen is gekomen, is Qassim Alsaedy (Bagdad 1949). Alsaedy studeerde in de jaren zeventig aan de kunstacademie in Bagdad, waar hij een leerling was van oa Shakir Hassan al-Said, een van de meest toonaangevende kunstenaars van Irak en wellicht een van de meest invloedrijke kunstenaars van de Arabische en zelfs islamitische wereld van de twintigste eeuw. [7] Gedurende zijn studententijd kwam Alsaedy al in conflict met het regime van de Ba’thpartij. Hij werd gearresteerd en zat negen maanden gevangen in al-Qasr an-Nihayyah, het beruchte ‘Paleis van het Einde’, de voorloper van de latere Abu Ghraib gevangenis.

Na die tijd was het voor Alasedy erg moeilijk om zich ergens langdurig als kunstenaar te vestigen. Hij woonde afwisselend in Syrië, Jemen en in de jaren tachtig in Iraaks Koerdistan, waar hij leefde met de Peshmerga’s (de Koerdische rebellen). Toen het regime in Bagdad de operatie ‘Anfal’ lanceerde, de beruchte genocide campagne op de Koerden, week Alsaedy uit naar Libië, waar hij zeven jaar lang als kunstenaar actief was. Uiteindelijk kwam hij midden jaren negentig naar Nederland.

 

 

Afbeelding78

Qassim Alsaedy, object uit de serie/installatie Faces of Baghdad, assemblage van metaal en lege patroonhulzen op paneel, 2005 (geëxposeerd op de Biënnale van Florence van 2005). Afb. collectie van de kunstenaar

In het werk van Alsaedy staan de afdrukken die de mens in de loop van geschiedenis hebben achterlaten centraal. Hij is vooral gefascineerd door oude muren, waarop de sporen van de geschiedenis zichtbaar zijn. In zijn vaderland Irak, het gebied van het vroegere Mesopotamië, werden al sinds duizenden jaren bouwwerken opgetrokken, die in de loop van de geschiedenis weer vergingen. Telkens weer liet de mens zijn sporen na. In Alsaedy’s visie blijft er op een plaats altijd iets van de geschiedenis achter. In een bepaald opzicht vertoont het werk van Qassim Alsaedy enige overeenkomsten met het werk van de bekende Nederlandse kunstenaar Armando . Toch zijn er ook verschillen; waar Armando in zijn ‘schuldige landschappen’ tracht uit te drukken dat de geschiedenis een blijvend stempel op een bepaalde plaats drukt (zie zijn werken nav de Tweede Wereldoorlog en de concentratiekampen van de Nazi’s), laat Alsaedy de toeschouwer zien dat de tijd uiteindelijk de wonden van de geschiedenis heelt. [8]

Het hier getoonde werk gaat meer over de recente geschiedenis van zijn land. Alsaedy maakte deze assemblage van lege patroonhulzen na zijn bezoek aan Bagdad in de zomer van 2003, toen hij na meer dan vijfentwintig jaar voor het eerst weer zijn geboorteland bezocht. Vanzelfsprekend is dit werk een reactie op de oorlog die dat jaar begonnen was. Maar ook deze ‘oorlogsresten’ zullen uiteindelijk wegroesten en verdwijnen, waarna er slechts een paar gaten of littekens achterblijven.

Sinds de laatste tien jaar begint ook de tweede generatie migrantenkunstenaars uit de Arabische wereld zichtbaar te worden. De tot nu toe meest bekende kunstenaar uit deze categorie is de Nederlandse/ Marokkaanse kunstenaar Rachid Ben Ali. Ben Ali bezocht kortstondig de mode-academie en de kunstacademie in Arnhem, maar vestigde zich al snel als autonoom kunstenaar in Amsterdam. Sinds die tijd heeft hij een stormachtige carrière doorgemaakt. Hij werd ‘ontdekt’ door Rudi Fuchs, exposeerde in het Stedelijk op de tentoonstelling die was samengesteld door Koningin Beatrix en had een paar grote solo-exposities, waaronder in Het Domein in Sittard (2002) en in het Cobramuseum in Amstelveen (2005). Deze tentoonstellingen verliepen overigens niet zonder controverses. Vanuit de islamitische hoek, maar zeker ook vanuit de autochtone Nederlandse hoek (zoals in de gemeente van Sittard, toen Ben Ali in het Domein exposeerde in 2002), werd het werk van Ben Ali als provocerend of aanstootgevend ervaren, vooral vanwege de expliciet homo-erotische voorstellingen die hij had verbeeld. [9]

Het werk van Ben Ali is rauw, direct, intuïtief en soms confronterend. In zijn werk zijn persoonlijke en politieke thema’s met elkaar verweven. Een belangrijke rol spelen zijn persoonlijke achtergrond, zijn homoseksualiteit, zijn verontwaardiging over zowel racisme en vreemdelingenhaat, als over religieuze bekrompenheid en intolerantie en zijn betrokkenheid bij wat er in de wereld gebeurt. Het hier getoonde werk maakte Ben Ali naar aanleiding van beelden van doodgeschoten Palestijnse kinderen door het Israëlische leger. Het weergegeven silhouet is een verbeelding van zijn eigen schaduw. Ben Ali heeft zichzelf hier weergeven als een machteloze toeschouwer, die van een grote afstand niet in staat is om iets te doen, behalve te aanschouwen en te getuigen. [10]

Er zijn nog veel meer kunstenaars uit de Arabische wereld in Nederland actief, zowel uit het Midden Oosten als Noord Afrika. Het is vanzelfsprekend onmogelijk om hen allemaal in dit verband recht te doen. Hoewel de meesten nog onbekend zijn bij de gevestigde instellingen, neemt hun zichtbaarheid in de Nederlandse kunstwereld langzaam maar zeker toe.

Floris Schreve,

Amsterdam, november 2010

فلوريس سحرافا

امستردام، 2010

Zie in dit verband ook mijn recente uitgebreide tekst over Qassim Alsaedy, nav de tentoonstelling in Diversity & Art en de bijdragen rond mijn lezing (de handout, mijn bijdrage in Kunstbeeld en de Engelse versie, waarin ik beiden heb samengevoegd) over de hedendaagse kunst in de Arabische wereld, waarin de actuele gebeurtenissen wel uitgebreid aan de orde zijn gekomen

 

 

Rachid h2 5

Rachid Ben Ali, Zonder Titel, acryl op doek, 2001 (foto Floris Schreve)

Noten

 [1] Tineke Lonte, Kleine Beelden, Grote Dromen, Al Farabi, Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam, 1993 (zie ook Jihad Abou Sleiman, Arabische kunstenaars schilderen bergen in Nederland, in Rosemarie Buikema, Maaike Meijer, ‘Cultuur en Migratie in Nederland; Kunst in Beweging 1980-2000’, Sdu Uitgevers, Den Haag, 2004, pp. 237-252, http://www.dbnl.org/tekst/meij017cult02_01/meij017cult02_01_0015.php) ; Mili Milosevic, Schakels, Museum voor Volkenkunde (Wereldmuseum), Rotterdam,  1988; Jetteke Bolten, Els van der Plas, Het Klimaat: Buitenlandse Beeldende Kunstenaars in Nederland, Gate Foundation, Stedelijk Museum de Lakenhal, Culturele Raad Zuid Holland, Den Haag, 1991; Paul Faber, Sebastian López, Double Dutch; transculturele beïnvloeding in de beeldende kunst, Stichting Kunst Mondiaal, Tilburg, 1992 (zie hier de introductie);  Els van der Plas, Anil Ramdas, Sebastian López, Het land dat in mij woont: literatuur en beeldende kunst over migratie, Gate Foundation, Museum voor Volkenkunde (Wereldmuseum), Rotterdam, 1995.

[2] Hans Sizoo, ‘Nassar, het park en de Moskee’, in J. Rutten (red.) met bijdragen van Kitty Zijlmans, Floris Schreve, Hans Sizoo, Achnaton Nassar, Saskia en Hassan gaan trouwen, werken van Achnaton Nassar, Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden, 2001. Zie ook http://www.dripbook.com/achnatonnassar/splash/ en voor meer abstract werk (tekeningen), zie de site van Galerie Art Singel 100, http://www.artxs.nl/achnaton.htm

[3] Saskia en Hassan (2001), zie ook de online versie http://bc.ub.leidenuniv.nl/bc/tentoonstelling/Saskia_en_hassan/

[4] Edward Said, Orientalism; Western conceptions of the Orient, Pantheon Books, New York, 1978 (repr. Penguin Books, New York 1995, 2003). Zie ook: Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations?, Foreign Affairs, vol. 72, no. 3, Summer 1993; Bernard Lewis, The Roots of the Muslim Rage, The Atlantic Monthly, September 1990, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1990/09/the-roots-of-muslim-rage/4643/ , Edward Said, The Clash of Ignorance, The Nation, 4 October, 2001, http://www.thenation.com/article/clash-ignorance

[5] Zie bijv. Chaalan Charif, Dineke Huizenga, Mowaffk al-Sawad (red.), Dwaallicht; tien Iraakse dichters in Nederland (poëzie van Mohammad Amin, Chaalan Charif, Venus Faiq, Hameed Haddad, Balkis Hamid Hassan, Salah Hassan, Karim Nasser, Naji Rahim, Mowaffk al-Sawad en Ali Shaye), de Passage, Groningen, 2006; Mowaffk al-Sawad, Stemmen onder de zon, uitgeverij de Passage, Groningen (roman, gebundelde brieven), 2002; Ibrahim Selman, En de zee spleet in tweeën, in de Knipscheer, Amsterdam, 2002 (roman) en de website van Al Galidi http://www.algalidi.com/. Over Iraakse schrijvers in Nederland Dineke Huizenga, Parels van getuigenissen, Zemzem; Tijdschrift over het Midden Oosten, Noord Afrika en islam, themanummer ‘Nederland en Irak’, jaargang 2, nr. 2/ 2006, pp. 56-63 en over Iraakse musici in Nederland Neil van der Linden, Muzikant in Holland, idem, pp. 82-87

[6] Zie oa W. P. C. van der Ende, Versluierde Taal, vijf uit Irak afkomstige kunstenaars in Nederland, Museum Rijswijk, Vluchtelingenwerk Rijswijk, 1999; IMPRESSIES; Kunstenaars uit Irak in ballingschap, AIDA Nederland, Amsterdam, 1996; Ismael Zayer, 28 kunstenaars uit Irak in Nederland, de Babil Liga voor de letteren en de kunsten, Gemeentehuis Den Haag, 2000; Anneke van Ammelrooy, Karim al-Najar, Iraakse kunstenaars in het Museon, Babil, Den Haag, november, 2002; Floris Schreve, Out of Mesopotamia; Iraakse kunstenaars in ballingschap, Leidschrift, Vakgroep Geschiedenis Universiteit Leiden, 17-3-2002 (bewerkte versie Iraakse kunst in de Diaspora, verschenen in Eutopia, nr. 4, april 2003, pp. 45-63); Floris Schreve, Kunst gedijt ook in ballingschap, Zemzem; Tijdschrift over het Midden Oosten, Noord Afrika en islam, themanummer ‘Nederland en Irak’, jaargang 2, nr. 2/ 2006, pp. 73-80 (online versie: https://fhs1973.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/ ); Helge Daniels, Corien Hoek, Charlotte Huygens, Focus Irak, programma en catalogus van het Iraakse culturele festival/tentoonstelling in het Wereldmuseum, ism de Stchting Akkaad, Rotterdam, mei 2004 (zie http://www.akaad.nl/archief.php);  programma ‘Iraakse kunsten in Amsterdam’ (2004), zie http://aidanederland.nl/wordpress/archief/discipline/multidisciplinair/seizoen-2004-2005/iraakse-kunsten-in-amsterdam/. Zie ook Beeldenstorm; vijf Iraakse kunstenaars in Nederland over hun ervaringen in Irak, ‘Factor’, IKON, Nederland 1, 17 juli, 2003, http://www.ikonrtv.nl/factor/index.asp?oId=924#. Zie over Iraakse kunstenaars uit de Diaspora van verschillende landen (uit Nederland Nedim Kufi) Robert Kluijver, Nat Muller, Borders; contemporary Middle Eastern Art and Discourse, Gemak/ De Vrije Academie, Den Haag, oktober 2007/januari 2009.

[7] Nada Shabout, Shakir Hassan Al Said; A Journey towards the One-dimension, Universe in Universe, Ifa (Duitsland), april, 2008, http://universes-in-universe.org/eng/nafas/articles/2008/shakir_hassan_al_said . Zie ook Saeb Eigner, Art of the Middle East; modern and contemporary art of the Arab World and Iran, Merrell, Londen/New York, 2010; Maysaloun Faraj (ed.), Strokes of genius; contemporary Iraqi art, Saqi Books, Londen, 2002; Mohamed Metalsi, Croisement de Signe, Institut du Monde Arabe, Parijs, 1989. Zie ook hier, op de site van de Darat al-Funun in Amman (Jordanië), een van de meest toonaangevende musea voor moderne en hedendaagse kunst in de Arabische wereld.

[8] Zie mijn interview met Qassim Alsaedy, augustus 2000, gepubliceerd op https://fhs1973.wordpress.com/2008/07/14/. Een interview met Alsaedy in het Arabisch (in al-Hurra) is hier te raadplegen. Zie voor meer werk Qassim Alsaedy’s website, http://www.qassim-alsaedy.com/ of de website van de galerie van Frank Welkenhuysen (Utrecht) http://www.kunstexpert.com/kunstenaar.aspx?id=4481

[9] Patrick Healy, Henk Kraan, Rachid Ben Ali, Amsterdam, 2000; Rudi Fuchs, Het Stedelijk Paleis, de keuze van de Koningin, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 2000; Bloothed, Het Domein Sittard, 2003, Rachid Ben Ali, Cobra Museum, Amstelveen, 2005. Zie verder discussie op Maroc.nl (http://www.maroc.nl/forums/archive/index.php/t-43300.html), Premtime (http://www.volkskrant.nl/vk/nl/2844/Archief/archief/article/detail/658197/2005/01/25/PREMtime.dhtml), of bij de Nederlandse Moslimomroep (http://www.nmo.nl/67-kunst__offerfeest_en_nationale_verzoening.html?aflevering=2413).

[10] Dominique Caubet, Margriet Kruyver, Rachid Ben Ali, Thieme Art, 2008. Zie voor recent werk de website van Witzenhausen Gallery, http://www.witzenhausengallery.nl/artist.php?mgrp=0&idxArtist=185

   

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Iraq returns to the Venice Bienial – Irak weer terug op de Biënnale van Venetië – العراق يعود إلى بينالي البندقية

http://jungeblodt.comhttp://onglobalandlocalart.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/

Acqua Ferita / Wounded Water

The Iraqi Pavilion at the Venice Bienial/Het Paviljoen van Irak op de Biënnale van Venetië/ الجناح العراقي في بينالي البندقية

After an absence of thirty-five years, Iraq finally again is represented at the Venice Biennial. Although the situation in Iraq is far from favorable for artists and the circumstances are still very difficult (albeit in a different way than under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein), the Iraqi pavilion at the Biennale is probably something hopeful. Probably because it seemed not have been easy to achieve this. Ali Assaf, the in Italy living Iraqi artist who is the main initiator of this project (earlier I spent on this blog some attention on his work in this article in Dutch and see this clip with a compilation of older work), had initially planned an exhibition of artists who are living and working inside Iraq. Because of the insecure circumstances in Iraq (still no government and no guarantees for substantial support) ultimately this plan ended up impossible to realise and the project became an exhibition of six artists from the Iraqi diaspora.

The participating artists are Adel Abidin (Helsinki, born 1973 in Baghdad), Ahmed Alsoudani (New York, born in 1975 in Baghdad), Ali Assaf (Rome, born in 1950 in Basra), Azad Nanakeli (Florence, born 1951 in Arbil , Kurdistan), Halim Al Karim (Denver, born in 1963 in Najaf) and Walid Siti (London, born in 1954 in Dohuk, Kurdistan). The exhibition is curated by Mary Angela Schroth (curator), Vittorio Urbani (co-commisioner) and Rijin Sahakian (Projects Assistant). Honorary President is the world-renowned Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid.

The only one of these artists I’ve once personally  met is Halim Al Karim (Ali Assaf I once interviewed by phone about his performance Feet of Sand of 1996, see here). After his escape from Iraq Halim Al Karim spent some time in the Netherlands ( he studied at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam). I met him early summer 2000, when he exhibited in the no longer existing gallery Fi Beiti (which was specialized in artists from the Middle East) in Amsterdam. At that time he made ceramic objects (see this example). Although at that time  he was barely known in the Dutch artscene (in the Middle East he already had a great career), I found his ceramic work had a very special quality. His breakthrough in the West came when he had moved to the United States. This was especially with his photographic work, as shown below. Today, his work is represented in the Saatchi Collection among others (see here)

Anyhow it’s special that this pavilion was created. Here will follow some of the official documentation, supplemented with information and images of the participating artists. In a later context, I will publish an article in English in which I will discuss more extensively some of these artists.

Floris Schreve,  Amsterdam

فلوريس سحرافا
(أمستردام، هولندا)

Click here for the essay of Mary Angela Shroth, curator of the Pavilion of Iraq

Ali Assaf, Al Basrah, the Venice of the East, Mixed Media Installation, 2011 (photo http://jungeblodt.com )

Adel Abidin, Consumptions of War, Video Projection and amorphic installation (photo http://jungeblodt.com )

Walid Siti, Beauty Spot, Mixed Media Installation, 2011 (photo http://jungeblodt.com )

Na een afwezigheid van vijfendertig jaar is Irak weer vertegenwoordigd op de Biënnale van Venetië. Hoewel de situatie in Irak allerminst gunstig is en kunstenaars het daar nog altijd bijzonder zwaar hebben (zij het op een andere manier dan onder de dictatuur van Saddam Hoessein), stemt het Iraakse paviljoen op de Biënnale enigszins hoopvol. Enigszins want het schijnt niet makkelijk geweest te zijn om dit te realiseren. Ali Assaf, de in Italië wonende Iraakse kunstenaar die de belangrijkste initiator van dit project was (eerder besteedde ik op dit blog aandacht zijn werk in dit artikel en zie hier een filmpje met een compilatie van wat ouder werk) was oorspronkelijk van plan om een tentoonstelling samen te stellen van kunstenaars uit Irak zelf. Uiteindelijk bleek dit niet realiseerbaar en werd het een expositie van zes Iraakse kunstenaars uit de Diaspora.

De particperende kunstenaars zijn Adel Abidin (Helsinki, geb. 1973 in Bagdad), Ahmed Alsoudani (New York, geboren in 1975 in Bagdad),  Ali Assaf (Rome, geboren in 1950 in Basra), Azad Nanakeli (Florence, geboren 1951 in Arbil, Koerdistan), Halim Al Karim (Denver, geboren in 1963 in Najaf) en Walid Siti (Londen, geboren in 1954 in Dohuk, Koerdistan). De tentoonstelling werd samengesteld door, naast Ali Assaf, Mary Angela Schroth (curator), Vittorio Urbani (co-commisioner) en Rijin Sahakian (adjunct Projects). Erevoorzitter is de inmiddels wereldwijd befaamde Iraakse architecte Zaha Hadid.

De enige van deze kunstenaars die ik zelf een keer heb ontmoet is Halim Al Karim (Ali Assaf heb ik een keer telefonisch geïnterviewd over zijn performance Feet of Sand uit 1996, zie hier). Na zijn vlucht uit Irak verbleef Halim Al Karim een tijd in Nederland (hij studeerde oa aan de Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam). Ik heb hem ontmoet begin zomer 2000, toen hij exposeerde in de niet meer bestaande gallerie Fi Beiti (gespecialiseerd in kunstenaars uit het Midden Oosten), aan de Prinsengracht in Amsterdam. In die tijd maakte hij keramische objecten (zie dit voorbeeld). Toen was hij nog nauwelijks bekend. Ten onrechte vond ik toen al, want zijn keramische werk had een bijzondere kwaliteit.  Zijn grote doorbraak kwam toen hij naar Denver was verhuisd. Dat was vooral met zijn fotografische werk, zoals hieronder te zien is. Tegenwoordig prijkt zijn werk in oa de Saatchi Collectie (zie hier)

Hoe dan ook is het bijzonder dat dit paviljoen tot stand is gekomen. In dit verband geef ik wat van de officiële documentatie weer, aangevuld met informatie en beeldmateriaal van de participerende kunstenaars. In een later verband zal ik in een nog te verschijnen Engelstalige bijdrage veel dieper ingaan op het werk van oa een aantal van deze kunstenaars.

Floris Schreve, Amsterdam

فلوريس سحرافا
(أمستردام، هولندا)

Pavilion of Iraq
54th International Art Exhibition
la Biennale di Venezia

Iraq’s experimental contemporary artists have never had a chance to present their work for an Iraq Pavilion at the Venice Biennale; the first and last major appearance in 1976 outlined only some of their “modern” artists. The Iraq Pavilion for 2011 will indeed show the world an exciting professionally-curated selection of 6 Iraqi artists from two generations, including various artistic media (painting, performance, video, photography, sculpture/installation).

Ali Assaf, Commissioner for the Pavilion of Iraq 2011

 

Acqua Ferita / Wounded Water
Six Iraqi Artists interpret the theme of water

Site: Gervasuti Foundation, Fondamenta S. Ana (Via Garibaldi) Castello 995, between Giardini and Arsenale
Opening to the Public: June 4, 2011. Closes Nov. 27, 2011 10-6 pm daily except Mondays
Press Preview: June 2, 2011 7 to 9 pm
Commissioner: Ali Assaf
Co-Commissioner: Vittorio Urbani
Curator: Mary Angela Schroth
Organization: Nuova Icona and Sala 1
Media Partner: Canvas Magazine
In collaboration with: Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Italy, Iraq UN Representation in Rome, Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, corporate and individual patrons and the Iraq Pavilion Patrons Committee

These are extraordinary times for Iraq. The project to create an official country Pavilion for the 54. Biennale di Venezia is a multiple and participatory work in progress since 2004. It is historically coming at a period of great renewal after more than 30 years of war and conflict in that country.

The Pavilion of Iraq will feature six internationally-known contemporary Iraqi artists who are emblematic in their individual experimental artistic research, a result of both living inside and outside their country. These artists, studying Fine Arts in Baghdad, completed their arts studies in Europe and USA. They represent two generations: one, born in the early 1950’s, has experienced both the political instability and the cultural richness of that period in Iraq. Ali Assaf, Azad Nanakeli and Walid Siti came of age in the 1970’s during the period of the creation of political socialism that marked their background. The second generation, to include Adel Abidin, Ahmed Alsoudani and Halim Al Karim, grew up during the drama of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), the invasion of Kuwait, overwhelming UN economic sanctions and subsequent artistic isolation. This generation of artists exited the country before the 2003 invasion, finding refuge in Europe and USA by sheer fortune coupled with the artistic virtue of their work. All six artists thus have identities indubitably forged with contemporary artistic practice that unites the global situation with the Iraqi experience and they represent a sophisticated and experimental approach that is completely international in scope.

The six artists will execute works on site that are inspired by both the Gervasuti Foundation space and the thematic choice of water. This is a timely interpretation since the lack of water is a primary source of emergency in Iraq, more than civil war and terrorism. A documentary by Oday Rasheed curated by Rijin Sahakian will feature artists living and working in Iraq today.

The Pavilion of Iraq has been produced thanks to Shwan I. Taha and Reem Shather-Kubba/Patrons Committee, corporate and individual contributors, Embassy of the Republic of Iraq and generous grants from the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, Hussain Ali Al-Hariri, and Nemir & Nada Kirdar.
Honorary Patron is the architect Zaha Hadid.

         

Links en rechts: Adel Abidin, Consumptions of War, Video Projection and amorphic installation

    

Links: Ahmed Alsoudani, Untitled, Charcoal and acrylic on canvas, 2010. Rechts: Ahmed Alsoudani, Untitled, Charcoal and acrylic on canvas, 2011

      

Links: Ali Assaf, Narciso, video installation, 2010. Rechts:Ali Assaf, Al Basrah, the Venice of the East, Mixed Media Installation, 2011

      

Links: Azad Nanakeli, Destnuej (purification), Video Installation, 2011. Rechts: Azad Nanakeli, Au (Water), Mixed Media Installation with audio, 2011

    

Links: Halim al Karim, Hidden Love 1, photograph Lambda Print, 2010. Rechts: Halim Al Karim, Hidden Revolution, video still, 2010

   

Links: Walid Siti, Beauty Spot,  Mixed Media Installation, 2011. Rechts: Walid Siti, Mesa, Mylar mirror, twill tape, nylon fishing line and wood, 2011

Bron en voor veel meer informatie en beeldmateriaal: http://www.pavilionofiraq.org/upload/index.html

In een later verband zal ik nog uitgebreid aandacht besteden aan een aantal van deze kunstenaars.

Floris Schreve
فلوريس سحرافا

Pavilion Of Iraq

54th International Art Exhibition
La Biennale di Venezia

click on logo to visit the website

Azad Nanakeli, Destnuej (purification), video-installatie, 2011

Ali Assaf, Al Basrah, the Venice of the East, Mixed Media Installation, 2011

Adel Abidin, Consumption of War, video, 2011

Halim Al Karim, Nations Laundry, video installatie, 2010-2011

Ahmed Alsoudani, Untitled, Charcoal and acrylic on canvas, 2011

Walid Siti, Mesa, Mylar mirror, twill tape, nylon fishing line and wood, 2011 (detail)

Uit ‘The Wallstreet Journal’ van 24 maart 2011: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704893604576200652720598940.html?mod=WSJ_Magazine_LEFTTopStories

Iraq Comes to Venice

Curator and iconoclast Mary Angela Schroth is spearheading a campaign to return Iraqi art to the prestigious Venice Biennale after a 35-year absence

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704893604576200652720598940.html#ixzz1PMFU92Df

By MARISA MAZRIA KATZ

[mag411_schroth1] Courtesy of Robert Goff GalleryAHMED ALSOUDANI | The Baghdad-born, New York-based painter (‘Untitled,’ 2007, pictured here) will be among six artists showing work at the Venice Biennale’s Iraq pavilion opening in June.

Walking a provocative tightrope is what American contemporary-art curator Mary Angela Schroth does best. In 1993, with memories of apartheid still fresh, Schroth staged Italy’s first exhibition of South African art, and during the days of glasnost and a collapsing Soviet Union, she presented its first show of perestroika-era Russian artists. And in a move that some might interpret as the ultimate in cultural and political overtures, Schroth is now preparing the return of the Iraq pavilion to the 2011 Venice Biennale after a 35-year hiatus.

[mag411_schroth2] Photograph by Danilo ScarpatiCurator Mary Angela Schroth, photographed at mixed-media artist Ali Assaf’s studio in Rome.

Artists and curators who have worked with Schroth throughout her career, which includes running Rome’s first nonprofit art space, Sala 1 (pronounced “Sala Uno,” Italian for “Room One”), say it’s the native Virginian’s tenacity and inquisitiveness that have shaped her vision since she entered the art world back in 1977.

“With anyone else it would have been impossible,” says Basra-born, Italy-based artist Ali Assaf, who is the commissioner and one of six Iraqi artists presenting work in the pavilion. Bringing his native country back to Venice was a cause he championed for years, but decades of unrest prevented its materialization. “At first it couldn’t be done because of Saddam, but then it became impossible because of the severe fighting and confusion,” he explains.

In 2009, Assaf approached Schroth to curate the pavilion in hopes that the combination of his passion and her trademark ambition would lead Iraq back into the Venice Biennale limelight. “The pavilion, through its artists and collaboration with the new government, is one small, but significant step,” Schroth says. “It is an important symbol for change.”

[mag411_schroth3] Courtesy of Azad NanakeliAZAD NANAKELI | Stills from the Florence-based artist’s video installation ‘Destnuej’ (2011)

In the two years since, Schroth, 61, has worked with Assaf to select artists who represent a cross-section of intergenerational talent from the Arab nation. But with the exodus of much of the country’s creative class, as well as today’s fragile security situation, choosing artists currently residing in Iraq proved unfeasible.

“Getting Iraqi artists [who live in Iraq] is not an easy job,” says Iraq’s ambassador to the U.N. agencies in Rome, Hassan Janabi. “It could be tedious and possibly create friction. Instead, they sought out artists living on the outside who could truly reflect what constitutes an Iraqi artist.” The list includes New York–based Ahmed Alsoudani, who will simultaneously show several paintings inside the nearby Palazzo Grassi, and the London-based Kurdish artist Walid Siti.

[mag411_schroth4] Courtesy of Walid SitiWALID SITI | ‘Family Ties’ (April 2009), an installation in Dubai by the London-based artist

The title of the pavilion, “Acqua Ferita”—or “wounded water” in Italian—was selected to shift the Iraq conversation away from war and onto one many view as equally significant. “Terrorism is a theme people are fed up with,” Assaf says. “There are other problems, such as water loss in the region, that no one thinks about.” The concept drew support from Janabi, who was at the time an official adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources. “Vast areas once covered with water are now desert,” Janabi says. “Water is life and this life has been taken away. This is critical and it’s now diminishing.”

Although some might chafe at the idea of an American curating the Iraq pavilion, contentious nationality issues have always remained far outside Schroth’s purview. “My nomadic life means I have more in common with these artists than a normal curator,” she says.

Indeed, it has been more than three decades since Schroth lived in the U.S. Her departure for Europe came on the heels of a five-year stretch working as an assistant at CBS under the helm of Walter Cronkite, covering events like Watergate, the end of the Vietnam War and the election of Jimmy Carter.

[0411Karim] Courtesy of Halim al-KarimHALIM AL-KARIM | ‘Hidden War’ (1985), a triptych by the U.S.-based photographer.

Her first destination was Normandy, France. Although Schroth had no formal art training, her enthusiasm led her to some of the country’s most off-the-map art happenings—the most fruitful of which was a collaboration with French contemporary artist Joël Hubaut. Together they established the independent art space Nouveau Mixage, hedged inside an abandoned garage in the center of Caen. It was there Schroth learned how to become an “artist’s producer,” or someone, she explains, “who could translate their projects into reality.”

While living in France, Schroth met the commissioner of the U.S. pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale, Kathleen Goncharov, and the two have since traveled to remote biennials and art events around the world. “My investigations to countries outside the Eurocentric context have been a big part of my identity in my work with contemporary art,” Schroth says.

With the impending closure of Nouveau Mixage, Schroth relocated to Rome. She arrived in a city replete with sweeping, historic charm, but a flatlining contemporary art scene. “Rome was a backwater,” Schroth says. “It didn’t have in the early 1980s what it has today. It just wasn’t interested in international contemporary art.”

[mag411_schroth6] Courtesy of Adel AbidinADEL ABIDIN | Still from ‘Three Love Songs’ (2010-11), a video installation at Mathaf, the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar.

A lack of galleries and independent spaces forced Schroth to spend her first year scouring the city for artists and setting her sights on transforming disused spaces into art hubs. One of the first such shows exhibited the work of Italian and British artists in abandoned, underground bathroom stalls in a central Roman piazza. The event, which still retains a kind of cult status in Italy today, proved to be one of the most pivotal in Schroth’s career, as it facilitated her introduction to sculptor and Passionist priest Tito Amodei.

Amodei’s art studio was housed inside a vaulted, former basilica compound owned by the Vatican. Inside the complex was also the 800-square-foot Sala 1 gallery that he used for sculptural exhibitions. He had for some time been on a desperate hunt for a director to take over the space. “Back then it wasn’t cool to be connected to the Catholic Church,” Schroth says. “Many didn’t think it could be a viable art space, but it just needed a curatorial jumpstart. Like any place, it was just a container unless you had a vision.” And so in 1985, Schroth assumed the role of director at Sala 1. The only rules for running the space, explains the now 85-year-old Amodei, were: “No politics. No religion. No Vatican. Only culture.”

Keeping their distance from their landlord, which meant never asking for financial assistance, has enabled Sala 1 to maintain a large degree of creative freedom—best exemplified in a succession of groundbreaking exhibitions. These include the 1995 “Halal” show, the first display of contemporary Israeli artists in Italy, and collaborating with the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2006 to present the U.S.’s first show of comic books hailing from Africa.

[mag411_schroth7] Courtesy of Ali AssafALI ASSAF | ‘Waters!’ (2009), an installation at Sette Sale in Rome.

Now with the 2002 opening of MACRO, the contemporary art museum and galleries, including an outpost from powerhouse dealer Larry Gagosian, Rome is beginning to take hold as a serious contemporary-art center. “At a time when Rome had mostly sleepy institutions, she was one of the only people working with emerging talent,” says Viktor Misiano, former contemporary-art curator at the Pushkin Museum and co-curator of “Mosca: Terza Roma,” Schroth’s 1988 exhibition of Russian art. “She is one of the few that had the courage to do something unusual.”

As if to underscore Schroth’s unremitting energy, she is also curating the first-ever Bangladesh pavilion for this summer’s Venice Biennale, which coincides with the country’s 40th anniversary. Both Bangladesh and Iraq will be housed in the Gervasuti Foundation, an artisan’s workshop in a construction zone in central Venice.

“For me being with the artist is as good as it gets,” says Schroth in a still-thick Southern accent. “And although sometimes it’s not perfect, in the end, they give you what I call illumination.”

“Which,” she adds, “just so happens to be the theme of this year’s Biennale.”

—The 54th Venice Biennale will run from June 4 to November 27, 2011.

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704893604576200652720598940.html#ixzz1PMEloVln

3/18. Bezoekers bekijken een kunstwerk van de Irakees Azad Nanakeli. Foto AFP / Filippo Monteforte (NRC, zie http://www.nrc.nl/inbeeld/2011/06/04/de-54e-biennale-van-venetie/ )

Ali Assaf, detail of Al Basra, the Venice of the East, video of oil soaked birds of the Gulf oil spill, accompanied by children’s songs (source http://www.artandpoliticsnow.com/2011/06/venice-biennale-2011-first-installment-the-iraqi-pavillion/ )

Ahmed Alsoudani, Untitled, Charcoal and acrylic on canvas, 2011

Ali Assaf, Narciso, video installation, 2010

Halim al Karim, Hidden Love 3, Photograph Lambda Print, 2009

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2011/jun/02/venice-biennale-iraqi-voice

Venice Biennale gives voice to Iraqi diaspora and struggling younger artists

Iraq’s first pavilion for 34 years is about trying to change perceptions of a dictatorship-scarred and war-wounded country

Charlotte Higgins

Venice Art Biennale - Iraqui Pavilion

Azad Nanakeli’s Acqua ferita/ Wounded Water at the Iraqi pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Photograph: Christian Jungeblodt

“I want to create, I want to show the world what I am capable of, but I cannot.” So says a 16-year-old Iraqi photographer, as Iraq fields its first pavilion for 34 years at the Venice Biennale.

The words of Ayman Haider Kadhm are part of a short documentary that looks at the experiences of three young Iraqi artists struggling to find a voice in a war-ravaged country.

He talks of his camera being confiscated by the security forces. “Do I look like a terrorist? I am only a photographer who wants to record life.”

In fact the main installation of the Iraq pavilion contains work only by members of the Iraqi diaspora, most of whom left in the 1970s to study abroad before the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war.

According to Rijin Sahakian, the Iraqi-born, American head of the Echo cultural foundation, another supporter of the pavilion: “There has been a severance of training, and an isolation for decades compounded by a newfound violence.

“That’s why all the artists here are part of the diaspora. It’s been fractured for years, and the last 10 years have been the final blow.”

The biennale may be a critical event for visual arts, but – with its national pavilions – it also has inescapable overtones of soft diplomacy. Iraq’s presence is also about trying to change perceptions of a dictatorship-scarred and war-wounded country.

Azad Nanakeli left his home city of Arbil in Kurdistan aged 23 to study in Baghdad and then Florence – and stayed in Italy. He has created a film work and a sculptural installation exploring the pavilion’s water theme.

It is, he says, “a great thing to have a space here. In 1976 Iraq was present at the biennale but it was more political and belonged to the regime”.

The curator, Mary Angela Schroth, agrees. “I want people to see the work of these artists and see that there are some untold stories. And I want people to see Iraq not as a 30-year conflict zone but like any other country.

“We have deliberately got away from the war – we want to give it an identity, an identity that it has lost since the Saddam dictatorship.

“In two years it could be more than a reality to show Iraqi work made in Iraq. But at the moment young Iraqis can’t leave the country. It is very difficult for artistic practice – the country is essentially destroyed.”

The pavilion is funded by the Iraq government and a handful of private sponsors including Total, the oil company. Zaha Hadid, the Iraqi-British architect, is its patron.

The artists argue that culture is necessary as a means of expression after a traumatic period in its history.

According to Nanakeli, after the war: “We thought we’d get freedom. Now we have a big problem when we speak about contemporary culture. The government doesn’t give a lot of space for art, theatre, cinema and that is terrible for Iraqis.

“If we are to grow as a country we need to think about all areas of life. My hope is that there will be a future for artists, poets and writers.”

Sahakian adds: “People have been silenced for so long. Art is a crucial tool for talking about what’s happened, for self-expression, for the documenting of personal experience.”

The London-based Walid Siti, who left his native Duhok in 1976 to study in Baghdad and then Ljubljana in Slovenia, has created a pair of linked sculptural installations which look at the rivers of Iraq.

“To have a show in Venice is important – to say that there is something positive. The water metaphor, it can bring us together.”

He talks about the subject of one of his pieces: the river Azab, which rises in Turkey, flows through Kurdistan and then flows “like a vein – a kind of symbol of life and continuity” to the Tigris.

“In Iraq it is very hard for artists. Religious groups are pressurising the government to close to close down art, theatre, dance organisations.

“But people are coming up with ideas. For better or worse, what Iraq has been through is a source of ideas.”

The Iraq pavilion is at Gervasuti Foundation, Castello 995, Venice, from Saturday until 27 November

Interview with Ali Assaf (in Italian), http://www.blarco.com/2011/06/il-fascino-del-padiglione-delliraq-alla.html

http://haunchofvenison.com/films/ahmed_alsoudaniwounded_water/

Ahmed Alsoudani:
Wounded Water

Film

Wounded Water: a short film with Ahmed Alsoudani from Haunch of Venison on Vimeo.

14 June 2011

Ahmed Alsoudani talks about his participation in ‘Wounded Water’, the Pavilion of Iraq, at the 54th Venice Biennale.

After a 35-year hiatus, 2011 marks Iraq’s triumphant return to the Venice Biennale. In an exhibition curated by Mary Angela Schroth, the 2011 Iraq Pavilion will present to the world six internationally celebrated Iraqi artists, including Haunch of Venison’s Ahmed Alsoudani (b.1975), an emerging artist whose paintings of war and human conflict have garnered him international attention and broad critical applause. The artists in the exhibition span two generations: Ali Assaf, Azad Nanakli, and Walid Siti were born in the 1950s and experienced periods of vast cultural richness and creativity in the country despite political turmoil; Ahmed Alsoudani, Abel Abidin and Halim Al Karim grew up during the Iran-Iraq War, the Invasion of Kuwait and daily life under intense UN sanctions and the tyrannical Ba’athist regime. The exhibition, entitled Acqua Ferita/Wounded Water, revolves around the six artists’ interpretations on the theme of water loss in the region through diverse mediums including painting, performance, video, photography, sculpture and installation art. According to Schroth, “The pavilion, through its artists and collaboration with the new government, is one small, but significant step.” The Iraq Pavilion will open on 2 June 2011 and is located at the Gervasuti Foundation, Fondamenta S. Ana (Via Garibaldi), Castello 995, between Giardini and Arsenale.

Back to Films

  • Haunch of Venison © 2011

The New York Times, 3-6-2011,  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/05/fashion/middle-eastern-artists-at-the-venice-biennale.html?_r=3&ref=middleeast

The Art World’s New Darlings

Jessica Craig-Martin for The New York Times

AFLOAT Ahmed Alsoudani, left, poses for Adel Abidin.

By JULIA CHAPLIN
Published: June 3, 2011

//

Adel Abidin and Ahmed Alsoudani, the young artists who represent Iraq at the 54th Venice Biennale, were sitting on the terrace of the Bauer Hotel here at dusk on Wednesday, studying their elaborately hand-written invitations to a private dinner given by François Pinault, the French billionaire. How would they cross the water to San Giorgio Maggiore Island?

Jessica Craig-Martin for The New York Times

NETWORKING Ahmed Alsoudani, left, with Isabelle de La Bruyère at a Venice Biennale party.

It is the first time since 1976 that Iraq has participated in the prestigious art gathering. With Egypt, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia all showing there (a first for Saudi Arabia), Middle Eastern art was Topic A among the gaggle of oligarchs, aristocrats and movie stars who gathered for three days of frantic partying and private viewings before the fair’s official opening on Saturday.

So it wasn’t surprising when Yvonne Force Villareal, a founder of the Art Production Fund in New York, offered them a ride on her private water taxi, along with the photographer Todd Eberle, the socialite Anne McNally, and Bruno Frisoni, the shoe designer. They piled in, a tangle of gowns and glitter, and sped across the choppy waterways, which were clogged with other party commuter craft.

When they docked at the Cini Foundation, an opulent former Benedictine monastery, Mr. Pinault himself stood at the arched entrance shaking hands with a long line of about 1,000 guests that included Anna Wintour, Charlotte Casiraghi, Jeff Koons and Dasha Zhukova.

Mr. Abidin, 38, is the less active networker of the two artists. He seemed to defy Mr. Pinault’s cocktail-attire dress code, wearing Vans, striped ankle socks and a scarf over a pink button-up shirt. He was coming from a scrappy, laid-back party for a pan-Arabian exhibition, held in a sprawling old salt storage facility, and was eager to return to his friends there.

Mr. Alsoudani, 36, on the other hand, was in his element, and seemed to know every other curator and collector. His abstract paintings, which touch on themes of violence and war, are collected by Charles Saatchi and Mr. Pinault, a frequent visitor to his studio. “François said he liked my pants,” said Mr. Alsoudani, who wore a pair of snug-fitting Dior trousers, a white vest and a hat.

The two — the youngest of six artists who represent the Iraq Pavilion’s exhibition, “Wounded Water” — came of age during the Iran-Iraq war, the invasion of Kuwait and the rule of Saddam Hussein. Both now live in the West (Mr. Abidin in Helsinki and Mr. Alsoudani in New York City), but their works reference a collective memory of strife and hardship — in Mr. Abidin’s case, with a touch of humor. They had met for the first time that evening and seemed to inhabit opposite spectrums of the art world, one bling, the other purist, although they agreed about the changing Middle East.

“The revolution in the Middle East has made me believe that we still have the capacity for believing in our dreams,” Mr. Abidin said, referring to the Arab Spring. “Change is beautiful.”

The two artists had been sought after in Venice, receiving invitations to palazzo dinners and a decadent reception hosted by Ms. Zhukova, Neville Wakefield and Alex Dellal at the Bauer.

Inside the monastery, Mr. Pinault’s party was in high gear, extravagant even by Biennale standards: more candles than a Sting video, banquet tables piled with basil risotto and sparkling rosé, and long tables stacked with exotic cheeses.

Young aristos flitted about the gardens in Balenciaga and Lanvin. Seated at one table were Isabelle de La Bruyère, a regional specialist from Christie’s, and Sultan Sooud al-Qassemi from the Emirate of Sharjah. “Come sit with us!” they called to Mr. Alsoudani and Mr. Abidin, who was chatting with Lisa Phillips, the director of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York.

“Middle East art is definitely trendy right now,” Mr. Alsoudani said. “But the truth is there is no Chinese art scene, or Indian art scene or Middle East. It’s easier to categorize it that way. The world is getting smaller and all art is judged by the same international standard.”

By 11 p.m., about two hours in, the crowd had mellowed and the BlackBerry typing began. Maurizio Cattelan was hosting a party for his magazine Toilet Paper on San Servolo Island. Others were heading to the Bungalow 8 pop-up club at Hotel Palazzina Grassi and others back to the Bauer.

Mr. Abidin refilled on red wine but seemed disillusioned by all the glitz. “I don’t like Venice,” he said. “I got divorced here and then had two breakups.” He returned to the pan-Arabian party on a boat with a D.J. and no dress code.

Mr. Alsoudani stayed behind. He hit the cheese table and his dealer, from Haunch of Venison, invited him to a party on a yacht hosted by the French collectors Steve and Chiara Rosenblum. “Isn’t Venice fantastic?” he said, contemplating all his choices.

A version of this article appeared in print on June 5, 2011, on page ST1 of the New York edition with the headline: The Art World’s New Darlings.

An exhibition of Halim al Karim in the Darat al-Funun, Amman, 2010

May 2010
Halim Al Karim’s work is a response to the artist’s own unimaginable experiences and his ongoing observation of the turmoil in Baghdad. Al Karim’s artistic approach is as an outward projection of his inner-consciousness and an expression of spiritual awakening. This exhibition presents a series of triptychs with blurred faces. Some are well known figures; others are film stills, artworks, or artifacts from his homeland. The identities of the figures seem immaterial with Al Karim’s out of focus photography technique; blurring their identities to emphasize the un-kept promises of freedom. In the series Witness from Baghdad, the artist highlights the non existence of a passive witness in times of war. Their striking, life-like eyes which reference Sumerian sculptures are proof that these quiet intangible faces are alive and well aware of what is happening around them. The works on show witness the evolving mentality of urban society in present day Iraq

Unveiled (Saatchi-Collection): http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/artists/halim_karim.htm?section_name=unveiled

SELECTED
WORKS BY Halim Al-Karim

 

Click on the images to
enlarge
Halim
Al-Karim

Hidden War

1985
Lambda print

138 x 324 cm

Hidden War

Iraqi artist Halim Al-Karim underwent a harrowing experience
during the first Gulf War. Opposing Saddam’s regime and its compulsory military
service he took to hiding in the desert, living for almost 3 years in a hole in
the ground covered by a pile of rocks. He survived only through the assistance
of a Bedouin woman who brought him food and water and taught him about gypsy
customs and mysticism. Al-Karim has since emigrated to America, however, these
events have had a profound effect on his life and form the basis for his art
practice.

Halim
Al-Karim

Hidden Face

1995
Lambda print

138 x 300 cm

Hidden Face

In this body of work, Al-Karim presents a series of triptychs,
each comprised of three faces. Some are well known figures, such as Saddam
Hussein in Hidden Face, others are film stills, artworks, or artifacts.
Presented as enlarged panels their distortion is compounded,
raising the
question not of what they represent but of their deeper meaning and
interconnectivity. Hidden Face was made in 1995, years before the
famous photo of Saddam in custody; the figure is in fact made up, based on how
Al-Karim imagined the dictator would look in the future. The two flanking out of
focus figures are suggestive of world leaders – still in power – whose support
of Saddam’s regime has been forgotten. Al-Karim has blurred their identities to
show the duplicity of their motives, scripting them as anonymous accomplices who
will never stand trial.

Halim
Al-Karim

Hidden Prisoner

1993
Lambda print

158 x 369 cm

Hidden Prisoner

In this series of work, photography is used for its
non-physical qualities: a medium which quite literally creates an image from
light, capturing the transient and interwoven nature of time and
memory. The
Sumerian artifacts featured in Al-Karim’s Hidden Prisoner and
Hidden Goddess were photographed in the Louvreand the British Museum;
Al-Karim describes seeing them internedbehind glass, far away from their home,
as a painful reminder ofvisiting his friends and family who were held as
political prisonersat Abu Ghraib during Saddam’s
regime.

Halim
Al-Karim

Hidden Theme

1995
Lambda print

138 x 300 cm

Hidden Theme

Al-Karim’s Hidden series is a response to the artists
own unimaginable experiences and his ongoing observances of the turbulences in
his homeland. With pieces titled Hidden War, Hidden Victims, Hidden
Witnesses
, Al-Karim raises the awareness of not only the devastating
effects of violence, but its many manifestations – both physical and
psychological – from the political to the economic and domestic. His works adopt
a skewed sense of scale and resolve to conceptually shift between the macro and
the micro, the societal and individual, physical and emotive, offering a
tranquil and meditative pause and space for reflection and
catharsis.

Halim
Al-Karim

Hidden Victims

2008
Lambda print

186 x 372 cm

Hidden Victims

Al-Karim merges aspects of Sufism – such as the belief in
Divine Unity – with obsolete traditions, especially those of ancient Sumer, the
grand empire which ruled in what is now Iraq from 6000-4000 BC. Sumerian symbols
often appear in his images, and his photographs
of women are in part
inspired by a ritual which could elevate girls to the status of
goddesses.

Halim
Al-Karim

Prisoner Goddess

1993
Lambda print

124 x 372 cm

Prisoner Goddess

Al-Karim’s approach to image-making is as an outward projection
of his inner-consciousness and a visual manifestation of spiritual awakening and
serenity. His evasive dream-like images evoke a range of instinctual emotive
responses, the ability of true perception existing as a preternatural power
within each of us, which can be understood and harnessed through the pursuit of
metaphysical enlightenment.

Halim
Al-Karim

Hidden Witnesses

2007
Lambda print

138 x 300 cm

Hidden Witnesses
Halim
Al-Karim

Hidden Doll

2008
Lambda print covered with white
silk

200 x 360 cm

Hidden Doll

In pieces such as Hidden Doll, Al-Karim presents his
photographs beneath a tautly stretched layer of white silk fabric that operates
as both a physical veil masking the portraits and a metaphorical filter or
screen. This ‘barrier’ between viewer and image can be conceived as a liminal
space, a transcendental portal between being and becoming, where the mystical
properties of change take place.

Halim
Al-Karim

Hidden War 2

2003
Lambda print covered with white
silk

200 x 330 cm

Hidden War 2

Themes of reconciliation are central to Al-Karim’s work, both
emotionally and in relation to Sufi tradition, where faith is inwardly focused
and strives for unity between consciousness and God.
Contradictions and
juxtapositions occur within his photos, but rather than creating tension, they
have harmonious effect. As faces line up: beautiful and garish, monstrous and
innocent, wizened and puerile, they form single conglomerate portraits, each
segment completing the next, contributing to the understanding of the whole. In
Hidden War 2, Al-Karim has covered his images with a transparent layer
of cloth, urging the viewer to consider the hidden agendas behind the
legitimising rhetoric of those who support the war

Halim Al Karim, Ashbook, porcelain and ash, 1999 (made in the time he lived in Amsterdam)

earlier work of Walid Siti

http://www.walidsiti.com/work/installation/constellation/constellation.htm

Constellation 2009

PlanetK, The 53rd International Art Exhibition, Venice

Board, emulsion paint, plaster, thread and nails.

Constellation is a large wall-based installation comprising the contours of a white mountain surrounded by constellations of black threads. The connections between the mountain and the black threads draw a parallel with an imagined cosmic world with many associations and metaphorical references to the memory of a physical landscape. The white mountain top in the centre of the work acts as a magnetic force that energises and coordinates the movements of the other elements, suggesting a network of dynamic links between the constituent parts. Constellation is an attempt to go beyond a superficial understanding of the physical elements of the work and to aspire towards an ideal landscape.

Constellation incorporates ideas and forms from ‘Precious Stones’ and ‘Family Ties’ – series of my drawings and paintings that preoccupied my work for over ten years. Both series focus on the significance of various symbols and forms such as stones, fire, cubes and circles, which both characterise the collective cultural identity of the Kurdish people and highlight the universal plight of the exile – physically distant though always emotionally close to home.

The work also plays metaphorically on the astrological meaning of constellation, allowing different readings and interpretations. The four arbitrary sets of constellations within the work are fragmented and incomplete, reflecting a state of contradiction and conflict in reality. This gives the work a new perspective and invites the viewer to contemplate and interpret it within a new context.

Walid Siti , London 2009

 

<< Back

Walid Siti, Suspended Mountains 2010, 400x400x600cm, Canvas tube, wire, pols
Serdem Gallery, Suleymania

From the very beginning, mountains, rocks, and stones—in all their  diverse forms and shapes—have been a constant source of inspiration for my  work. I use them as metaphors, visual forms that convey my ideas about and  associations with political, social, and cultural topics as well as issues of  identity. These are the themes that concern me and that have shaped and  influenced my art and my life.

      

Earlier works of Ahmed Alsoudani

http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/artists/ahmed_alsoudani.htm

We Die Out of Hand

Ahmed Alsoudani

We Die Out of Hand

2007
Charcoal, pastel and acrylic on paper

274.3 x 243.8 cm

During the first Gulf War, Ahmed Alsoudani fled to Syria
before claiming asylum in America. Through his paintings and drawings he
approaches the subject of war through aesthetics. Citing great artists of the
past such as Goya and George Grosz whose work has become the lasting
consciousness of the atrocities of the 19th and 20th centuries, Alsoudani’s
inspiration comes directly from his own experiences as a child, as well as his
concerns over contemporary global conflicts. In We Die Out Of Hand, the
earthy background sets the stage for dreary prison gloom, while hooded figures
are obliterated through mercilessly violent gestures, insinuating the horrors of
Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay with exquisite and torturous beauty.

You No Longer Have Hands

Ahmed Alsoudani

You No Longer Have Hands

2007
Charcoal, pastel and acrylic on paper

213.4 x 274.3 cm

Alsoudani executes his works with a raw physicality, using
materials such as paint and charcoal in an unorthodox way, often painting over
drawing and vice versa. You No Longer Have Hands is spread over two
large pieces of paper, the seam down the middle operating literally as a divide.
Like many of Alsoudani’s images, there are no people in this work, rather the
concepts of violence are presented as something too large and abstract to
comprehend. Instead a graffiti strewn wall provides a hint of humanity against a
raging black mass, torrential, abject and bereft.

Untitled

Ahmed Alsoudani

Untitled

2007
Oil, acrylic, ink, gesso on canvas

182.9 x 213.4 cm

Untitled

Ahmed Alsoudani

Untitled

2008
Oil, acrylic, charcoal gesso on canvas

213 x 184 cm

Alsoudani’s Untitled is barely recognisable as a portrait.
Mixing charcoal with paint, the surface evolves as a dirty corporeal mass, as
pure colours become tinged by sooty dust and paint drips down the canvas in
contaminated streams. Describing what might be a head, Alsoudani offers up an
anguished abstraction combining organic textures with geometric forms. Rendering
carnage with an almost cartoon efficacy, Alsoudani summates the base instinct of
destruction as a volume of fleshy fields punctuated by industrial rubble;
hard-edged circles and arcs lend an absurd consumerist familiarity suggesting
windows and bullet holes in the cold pictograph motifs.

Baghdad I

Ahmed Alsoudani

Baghdad I

2008
Acrylic on canvas

210 x 370 cm

“The falling statue of a despot in the centre of Baghdad
I
recalls the toppling of the statue of Saddam. The rooster-like figure
symbolizes America. Here the rooster is not only a figure of control but is
injured as well and constrained. The basket of eggs to the left side of its neck
represents ideas – unhatched ideas in this case; an armory of fragile potential.
Alsoudani’s fascination with molecules and cellular references are apparent in
the central egg-shaped object in the center of the rooster’s belly. The flood
bursting through on the bottom center of the canvas carries Biblical
associations and references the fractured nature of daily life in Baghdad –
nothing works, pipes burst, the city is tacked together, evoked by the large
nails depicted in different parts of the canvas. A figure on the upper right of
the canvas bursts forth in a flourish of pageantry, representing the new Iraqi
government, sprung forth from the chaos, compromised, bandaged and standing
precariously on a teetering stool.” Robert
Goff

Baghdad II

Ahmed Alsoudani

Baghdad II

2008
Acrylic on canvas

250 x 380 cm

Baghdad II depicts a “typical” Baghdad scene: on
the left side of the canvas a car has crashed into an American-built security
wall – another suicide bombing attempt or an act of pure desperation. Stylized
licks of red flame come up from the ground, an eyeball has rolled to the center
of the painting on the bottom. The eyeball plays a role in terms of content and
form but also alludes to Lebanese poet Abbas Baythoon. On the lower right hand
side of the painting a head lies behind bars – this is a reference to a statue
in Baghdad, which here Alsoudani has decapitated and, ironically, brought to
life as an imprisoned figure. One way to read this is that under Saddam’s
dictatorship art was constricted and imprisoned and this idea of censorship is
continually evoked through a layered approach in this work. The female figure in
the center right side of the painting is deliberately drawn in as opposed to
painted, a martyr-figure both carrying and giving birth to change.” Robert
Goff

Untitled

Ahmed Alsoudani

Untitled

2008
Charcoal, acrylic and pastel on paper

270 x 226 cm

Alsoudani’s Untitled mesmerizes with the power and chaos of
an explosion, combining artistic references with combustive force. Reminiscent
of cubist dynamics, Alsoudani approaches his theme of war from every angle,
broaching the incomprehensibility of combat and its repercussions through his
fragmented and turbulent composition. Drawn in charcoal and pastel Alsoudani’s
gestures convey raw passion and intensity with a rarefied elegance, his subtle
shading and ephemeral acrylic washes simultaneously evoking the detailed etching
in Goya’s Disasters of War and the hyper-violent media graphics of Manga
illustrations. Alsoudani negotiates these terrains with unwavering authority,
responding to current events with commanding hindsight to develop contemporary
history painting that’s both high-impact and enduring.

Earlier works of Adel Abidin

Cold Interrogation

Mixed media installation, 2004

A video installation dealing with the dilemma of being an Arab, Muslim and Iraqi individual living in a western society in this period of time.“Since I left my home country Iraq in 2000, I am dealing daily with different questions about my identity”.The work creates an interactive atmosphere, by inviting the viewer to take part in the interrogation.

Examples of the questions:

How did you end up in Finland?How is the situation in Iraq right now?What do you think of Osama bin Ladin?How does it feel to ride a camel?Are you with the war, do you support it?What do you think of the suicide bombers?What do you think of the Americans?And so on…
The viewer can hear to the loud audio of the questions coming from inside the fridge, and see the video through the security peephole fixed on the fridge.

Details:

Country of production: Finland 2004
Duration: 01’00’00 min. (Looping)
Aspect ratio: 4:3
Sound: Stereo
Original Format: mini dv
Screening format: DVD- all / Pal

Images: / 1

Installation view
Installation view

/ 2

Instalation view
Instalation view

/ 3

Installation detail
Installation detail

/ 4

Hopscotch

A video installation, 2009

Hopscotch is a game children play the world over. In Abidin’s work, the squares lead to a gate – into another, unknown world. Abidin associates the work with the Iraq he experienced as child: “In this game, the players are being watched by people who have the power to terminate much more than the game. In a police state, children are taught the ‘rules of the game’ very early on.”

Video details:

8 meters * 4 meters built gate in the museum/ consists of: wood and Plexiglas

duration : 00’02’00 (looping)
Shooting format: Mini DV
Screening format: DVD- all
Aspect ratio: 4:3 (round)

Images: / 1

Installation detail
Installation detail

/ 2

Installation view
Installation view

/ 3

Installation view
Installation view

/ 4

Installation view
Installation view

/ 5

Installation view
Installation view

http://www.abidintravels.com/

I’m Sorry

Sound installation including a light box, 2008

During a recent trip to the US, I met many people from different kinds of educational and social backgrounds. Yet, surprisingly, they all reacted in the same way when I mentioned that I was Iraqi”.

Details:

Country of production: Finland 2008
Sound installation including a light box
Computer programs the sync between the sound and the lights.

JihadVideo piece, 2006

Jihad

Video piece, 2006

http://www.levantinecenter.org/levantine-review/articles/consumption-war-–-adel-abidin-2011-venice-biennale

“Consumption of War” – Adel Abidin at the 2011 Venice Biennale

      posted June 10, 2011 – 1:26pm by Editor
Subtitle:
five Iraqi artists represent their homeland for first time in 35 years

By Lina Sergie AttarIn Consumption of War, the latest installation by Iraqi-Finnish artist Adel Abidin, one stands in a room, between projection and reality, watching an absurd “war” break out between two corporate figures. The film leaves us in physical and metaphoric darkness, questioning not only the artist’s intention but also our implication within the narrative. Throughout his work over the last decade, exploring issues of identity, memory, exile, violence, war and politics, Abidin has harnessed the power of ambiguity.

Iraqi-Finnish artist Adel AbidinIraqi-Finnish artist Adel AbidinThis year, Abidin is one of five Iraqi artists chosen to represent their homeland at the prestigious 54th annual Venice Biennale. It is the first time in 35 years that a pavilion has been dedicated to Iraq. He represented his “other” home, Finland, in 2007 at the Biennale with his acclaimed installation, Abidin Travels, a mock travel agency that advertised the pleasures of visiting war-torn Iraq. The “agency” was complete with all the materials needed to “sell” an exotic locale: glossy brochures with catchy tag lines, “Baghdad: much more than a holiday” and a brightly-colored faux booking website. In the promotional video, Abidin juxtaposes a cheery, female voice with an American accent describing idealized scenes of Iraq’s famous antiquities and architecture against the footage of looted museums and taped executions. Abidin challenges the typical “Western” tourist’s immunity to the images of war by framing the grim reality within the fake packaging of imagined perfection.

"Consumption of War"“Consumption of War”The Pavilion of Iraq’s theme is Wounded Water. Severe water shortages and pollution in Iraq compete with the ongoing war as the deadliest threat to civilian life. The local plight is also a universal one as global corporations encourage consumption on a massive scale for maximum profit, disregarding the obscene amounts of water needed to produce “necessities” such as a pair of jeans or cup of coffee. Abidin is concerned, “In Iraq, major corporations have signed the largest free oil exploration deals in history. Yet while every barrel of oil extracted requires 1.5 barrels of water, 1 out of every 4 citizens has no access to clean drinking water.” Consumption of War explores this environmental crisis from the perspective of the competitive corporate environment.

The work occupies two adjacent spaces, the first a decrepit room with broken plaster exposing a brick structure and unused fixtures jutting out of a tiled wall. We enter, facing a white, bare wall with a stopped office clock. The disorienting light flickers in bright flashes. Between the flickers, we see a filing cabinet and a large poster of a parched landscape. In the second space, we face an office with the same clock projected onto the back wall and a vivid, lush landscape in the background. Two men, almost identical in height, weight and coloring, as typically corporate as the room, begin a duel using the florescent lights as swords. The camera shots oscillate between the main view and extreme close-ups of feet crunching glass, of furniture sliding across the room, of fingers grasping the light tubes, and of mock menacing facial expressions, with fuzzy, black and white surveillance shots sliced between. Everything in the room becomes a prop for the fight, cabinets become platforms, lights become swords, at one point a binder is used as a shield. The childish battle is an exaggerated slow-motion dance, referencing pop culture movies such as Star Wars and The Matrix. The light dims darker as the “light sabers” are shattered one by one, until we are left in darkness.

Abidin constructs a visual interpretation of a modern power struggle within the glorified corporate environment, its immaculate furnishings and model-like workers symbolize the pinnacle of global aspirations. Even the playful way they fight is idealized and sanitized. But these seemingly innocent actions are not without consequence; for every light bulb shattered in vain, resources are lost to the majority of people shut out of the power structure.

In Consumption of War, a room within a room changes scale to become a world within a world, representing the present and the absent, what is now and what will come in the future. Abidin strategically places the viewers in between an unclear future and a weary present. The viewers become participants in a game with no winners. As they leave the darkness back into the flashing alarms of light, the lush landscape dissolves into an illusion, a dream, replaced with the reality of a parched, depleted world. He leaves them with a choice: to idly watch as precious resources are sucked dry or to play a different game and stop the madness.

The Pavilion of Iraq opened as part of the 54th Venice Biennale on June 2nd, 2011 and runs until November 2011. Other artists presented in the pavilion are Halim Al Karim, Ahmed Alsoudani, Ali Assaf, Azad Nanakeli and Walid Siti. Info here.

Lina Sergie Attar is an architect educated in Aleppo, Syria, with graduate degrees from RISD and MIT. She has taught architecture, interior architecture and art history courses in Boston and Chicago. Lina is co-founder of Karam Foundation, NFP, a charity based in Chicago. She blogs at tooarab.com. This is her second article for the Levantine Review.

Azad Nanakeli, Destnuej (purification), video-installatie, 2011

earlier works of Azad Nanakeli

Azad Nanakeli, What is the Question? video-still, 2007

Azad Nanakeli, A Perfect World, 2009

Azad Nanakeli, Destnuej (purification), video-installatie, 2011

Earlier works of Ali Assaf (http://www.aliassaf.com/works.html )

 This image of Head of Nuisance (1983), by Ali Assaf can be found alongside numerous works created by Iraqi artists on the Iraq Memory Foundation website. (Ali Assaf/Iraq Memory Foundation)

Ali Assaf, Head of Nuisance, 1983

Ali Assaf, Him, just Him, everywhere Him, 1985

Ali Assaf, Belsem, installation (mixed media and sound), San Marino, 1991

Ali Assaf, Feet of Sand, performance, 1996

Ali Assaf, I wonder if your barber would agree, object of rubber, glue and human hair (translation of the German text: ‘A Dutch hairdresser once told me the hair of the Europeans has become more and more thin since the last thirty years, but if they mix with migrants of the south of the earth, (their hair) certainly will become strong again’

Ali Assaf, Mujaheed, cibachrome on foamcore, plastified, 1997

  

  

  

Ali Assaf, The obscure object of desire, installation, 2002 (details, click on picture to enlarge)

Ali Assaf, The obscure object of desire, installation, 2002 (overview)

Ali Assaf, Greetings from Baghdad, 2004

Ali Assaf, I am her, I am him, video, 2008

Floris Schreve, Amsterdam

فلوريس سحرافا

(أمستردام، هولندا

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Modern and contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa

http://onglobalandlocalart.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/modern-and-contemporary-art-of-the-middle-east-and-north-africa-2/

الفن المعاصر في العالم العربي وإيران

Since the recent developments in Tunisia and Egypt and probably to follow in other Arab countries, even the mainstream media have noticed that in the Arab world and Iran there is a desire for freedom and democracy. While in the Western World  often reduced to essentialist clichés of the traditional Arab or the Muslim extremists the recent events show the opposite. The orientalist paradigm, as Edward Said has defined in 1978, or even the ‘neo-orientalist’ version (according to Salah Hassan), virulent since 9 / 11, are denounced by the images of Arab satellite channels like Al Jazeera. It proofs that there are definitely progressive and freedom-loving forces in the Middle East, as nowadays becomes  visible for the whole world.

Wafaa Bilal (Iraq, US), from his project ‘Domestic Tension’, 2007 (see for more http://wafaabilal.com/html/domesticTension.html )

Since the last few years there is an increasing interest in contemporary art from that region. Artists such as Mona Hatoum (Palestine), Shirin Neshat (Iran) and the architect Zaha Hadid (Iraq) were already visible in the international art circuit. Since the last five to ten years there are a number of names added, like Ghada Amer (Egypt), Akram Zaatari and Walid Ra’ad (Lebanon), Fareed Armaly and Emily Jacir (Palestine), Mounir Fatmi (Morocco), Farhad Mosheri ( Iran), Ahmed Mater (Saudi Arabia), Mohammed al- Shammerey  and Wafaa Bilal (Iraq). Most of these artists are working and living in the Western World.

Afbeelding49

Walid Ra’ad/The Atlas Group (Lebanon), see http://www.theatlasgroup.org/index.html, at Documenta 11, Kassel, 2002

Mounir Fatmi (Morocco), The Connections, installation, 2003 – 2009, see http://www.mounirfatmi.com/2installation/connexions01.html

Yet the phenomenon of modern and contemporary art in the Middle East isn’t something of last decades. From the end of World War I, when most Arab countries arose in its present form, artists in several countries have sought manners to create their own form of international modernism. Important pioneers were Mahmud Mukhtar (since the twenties and thirties in Egypt), Jewad Selim (forties and fifties in Iraq), or Muhammad Melehi and Farid Belkahia (from the sixties in Morocco). These artists were the first who, having been trained mostly in the West, introduced modernist styles in their homeland. Since that time, artists in several Arab countries draw inspiration from both international modernism, and from traditions of their own cultural heritage.

Shakir Hassan al-Said (Iraq), Objective Contemplations, oil on board, 1984, see http://universes-in-universe.org/eng/nafas/articles/2008/shakir_hassan_al_said/photos/08

Ali Omar Ermes (Lybia/UK), Fa, Ink and acryl on paper

The latter was not something noncommittal. In the decolonization process, the artists often explicitly took a stand against western colonialism. Increasing local traditions here was used often as a strategy. From the late sixties also other factors play a role. “Pan-Arabism” or even the search for a “Pan-Islamic identity” had an impact on the arts. This is obvious in what the French Moroccan art historian Brahim Alaoui  called ‘l’ Ecole de Signe’,  the ‘school of sign’. Abstract calligraphy and decorative traditions of Islamic art, were in many variations combined with contemporary abstract art. The main representatives of this unique tendency of modern Islamic art were Shakir Hassan al-Said (Iraq, deceased in 2004), and the still very active artists as Rachid Koraichi (Algeria, lives and works in France), Ali Omar Ermes (Libya, lives and works in England) and Wijdan Ali (Jordan). This direction found even a three dimensional variant, in the sculptures of the Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli.

Laila Shawa (Palestine), Gun for Palestine (from ‘The Walls of Gaza’), silkscreen on canvas, 1995

What is particularly problematic for the development of contemporary art of the Middle East are the major crises of recent decades. The dictatorial regimes, the many wars, or, in the case of Palestine, the Israeli occupation,  have often been a significant obstacle for the devolopment of the arts. If the arts were encouraged, it was often for propaganda purposes, with Iraq being the most extreme example (the many portraits and statues of Saddam Hussein speak for themselves). Many artists saw themselves thus forced to divert in the Diaspora (especially Palestinian and Iraqi artists). In the Netherlands there are well over the one hundred artists from the Middle East, of which the majority exists of refugees from Iraq (about eighty). Yet most of these artists are not known to the vast majority of the Dutch cultural institutions and the general public.

Mohamed Abla (Egypt), Looking for a Leader, acrylic on canvas, 2006

In the present context of on the one hand the increased aversion to the Islamic world in many European countries, which often manifests itself  into populist political parties, or conspiracy theories about ‘Eurabia’ and, on the other hand, the very recent boom in the Arab world itself, it would be a great opportunity to make this art more visible to the rest of the world. The Middle East is in many respects a region with a lot of problems, but much is also considerably changing. The young people in Tunisia and Egypt and other Arab countries, who challenged their outdated dictatorships with blogs, facebook and twitter, have convincingly demonstrated this. Let us  have a look at the arts. There is much to discover.

Floris Schreve

Amsterdam, March, 2011

originally published in ‘Kunstbeeld’, nr. 4, 2011 (see here the original Dutch version). Also published on Global Arab Network and on Local/Global Art, my new blog on international art

Ahmed Mater (Saudi Arabia), Evolution of Man, Cairo Biennale, 2008. NB at the moment Mater is exhibiting in Amsterdam, at Willem Baars Project, Hoogte Kadijk 17, till the 30th of july. See http://www.baarsprojects.com/

Handout lecture ‘Modern and Contemporary art of the Arab World’

محاضرة الفن الحديث والمعاصر في العالم العربي

Diversity & Art,  Amsterdam, 17-5-2011, at the occasion of the exhibition of the Dutch Iraqi artist Qassim Alsaedy

Click on the pictures to enlarge

Short introduction on the history and geography of the modern Arab World

  • The Ottoman Empire
  • The  Sykes/Picot agreement
  • The formation of the national states
  • The Israeli/Palestinian conflict

  

                       

Ottoman Empire 1739                  Ottoman Empire 1914                   The Sykes/Picot agreement

              

The modern Middle East       The modern Arab World

                         

 Palestinian loss of land 1948-2000    The current situation (2005)

The early modernist pioneers:

            

Mahmud Mukhtar            Jewad Selim

             

Jewad Selim                    Faeq Hassan

Farid Belkahia

The ‘School of Sign’ (acc. Brahim Alaoui, curator of the  Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris):

                   

 Shakir Hassan al-Said               Ali Omar Ermes                              Rachid Koraichi

 

Other examples of ‘Arab Modernism’:

                   

  Mohamed Kacimi                           Dhia Azzawi                                   Rafik el-Kamel

The Palestinian Diaspora:

                        

Mona Hatoum                                    Laila Shawa                                       Emily Jacir

Recently emerged ‘international art’:

                                

 Walid Ra’ad/The Atlas Group           Mounir Fatmi                                     Ahmed Mater

Art and propaganda:

  • Iraq (monuments, Victory Arch, Babylon, portraits of Saddam Husayn and Michel Aflaq, the founder of the Ba’thparty)
  • Syria (portrait Havez al-Assad)
  • Libya (portrait Muammar al-Qadhafi)

      

Victory Arch                               ‘Saddam as Saladin’

                                                

Statue of Michel Aflaq                    Statue of Havez al-Assad                 Muammar al-Qadhafi

The art of the ‘Arab Spring’ in Egypt:

          

Mohamed Abla                                Ahmed Bassiony

  

Iraqi artists in the Diaspora:

 

              

Rafa al-Nasiri                             Hanaa Mal Allah                         Ali Assaf

          

Wafaa Bilal                           Halim al-Karim                         Nedim Kufi

                               

Hoshyar Rasheed                            Aras Kareem                          Ziad Haider

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Qassim Alsaedy, Shortly after the War, mixed media (installation) Diversity&Art, May 2011 (see here an interview with Qassim Alsaedy at the opening-in Arabic)

Selected Bibliography

• Brahim Alaoui, Art Contemporain Arabe, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, 1996
• Brahim Alaoui, Mohamed Métalsi, Quatre Peintres Arabe Première ; Azzaoui, El Kamel, Kacimi, Marwan, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, 1988.
• Brahim Alaoui, Maria Lluïsa Borràs, Schilders uit de Maghreb (‘Painters of the Maghreb’), Centrum voor Beeldende Kunst, Gent (Belgium), 1994
• Brahim Alaoui, Laila Al Wahidi, Artistes Palestiniens Contemporains, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, 1997
• Wijdan Ali, Contemporary Art from the Islamic World, Al Saqi Books, London, 1989.
• Wijdan Ali, Modern Islamic Art; Development and continuity, University of Florida Press, 1997
• Hossein Amirsadeghi , Salwa Mikdadi, Nada Shabout, ao, New Vision; Arab Contemporary Art in the 21st Century, Thames and Hudson, London, 2009.
• Michael Archer, Guy Brett, Catherine de Zegher, Mona Hatoum, Phaidon Press, New York, 1997
• Ali Assaf, Mary Angela Shroth, Acqua Ferita/Wounded Water; Six Iraqi artists interpret the theme of water, Gangemi editore, Venice Biennale, 2011 (artists: Adel Abidin, Ahmed Alsoudani, Ali Assaf, Azad Nanakeli, Halim al-Karim, Walid Siti)
• Mouna Atassi, Contemporary Art in Syria, Damascus, 1998
• Wafaa Bilal (with Kari Lydersen), Shoot an Iraqi; Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun, City Lights, New York, 2008
• Catherine David (ed),Tamass 2: Contemporary Arab Representations: Cairo, Witte De With Center For Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, 2005
• Saeb Eigner, Art of the Middle East; modern and contemporary art of the Arab World and Iran, Merrell, Londen/New York, 2010 (with an introduction of Zaha Hadid).
• Aida Eltori, Illuminations; Thirty days of running  in the Space: Ahmed Basiony (1978-2011) , Venice Biennale, 2011
• Maysaloun Faraj (ed.), Strokes of genius; contemporary Iraqi art, Saqi Books, London, 2002 (see here the presentation of the Strokes of Genius exhibition)
• Mounir Fatmi, Fuck the architect, published on the occasion of the Brussels Biennal, 2008
• Liliane Karnouk, Modern Egyptian Art; the emergence of a National Style, American University of Cairo Press, 1988, Cairo
• Samir Al Khalil (pseudonym of Kanan Makiya), The Monument; art, vulgarity and responsibillity in Iraq, Andre Deutsch, London, 1991
• Robert Kluijver, Borders; contemporary Middle Eastern art and discourse, Gemak, The Hague, October 2007/ January 2009
• Mohamed Metalsi, Croisement de Signe, Institut du Monde Arabe, Parijs, 1989 (on ao Shakir Hassan al-Said)
• Revue Noire; African Contemporary Art/Art Contemporain Africain: Morocco/Maroc, nr. 33-34, 2ème semestre, 1999, Paris.
• Ahmed Fouad Selim, 7th International Biennial of Cairo, Cairo, 1998.
• Ahmed Fouad Selim, 8th International Biennial of Cairo, Cairo, 2001.
• M. Sijelmassi, l’Art Contemporain au Maroc, ACR Edition, Paris, 1889.
• Walid Sadek, Tony Chakar, Bilal Khbeiz, Tamass 1; Beirut/Lebanon, Witte De With Center For Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, 2002
• Paul Sloman (ed.), with contributions of Wijdan Ali, Nat Muller, Lindsey Moore ao, Contemporary Art in the Middle East, Black Dog Publishing, London, 2009
• Stephen Stapleton (ed.), with contributions of Venetia Porter, Ashraf Fayadh, Aarnout Helb, ao, Ahmed Mater, Booth-Clibborn Productions, Abha/London 2010 (see also www.ahmedmater.com)
• Rayya El Zein & Alex Ortiz, Signs of the Times: the Popular Literature of Tahrir; Protest Signs, Graffiti, and Street Art, New York, 2011 (see http://arteeast.org/pages/literature/641/)

Links to relevant websites of institutions, manifestations, magazines, museums and galleries for Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa:

An Impression of the lecture, 17-5-2011, Diversity & Art, Amsterdam

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On the screen a work of the Iraqi artist Rafa al-Nasiri

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Three times Qassim Alsaedy’s Shortly after the War

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In front: The Iraqi/Kurdish journalist Goran Baba Ali and Herman Divendal, director of the Human Rights Organisation for Artists AIDA (Association Internationale des Défence des Artistes)

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Me (left) with the Embassador of Iraq in the Netherlands, H.E. Dr. Saad Al-Ali, and Qassim Alsaedy

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Floris Schreve
فلوريس سحرافا
(أمستردام، هولندا)

photos during the lecture by Hesam Hama

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Lezing ‘Moderne en hedendaagse kunst van de Arabische wereld’, 17 mei 2011

محاضرة الفن الحديث والمعاصر في العالم العربي

De Handout van mijn lezing van 17-5-2011, gehouden ter gelegenheid van de tentoonstelling van Qassim Alsaedy in Diversity & Art, met toevoeging van een selectie van de afbeeldingen, die ik in mijn lezing heb besproken (klik op afbeelding voor vergrote weergave). Verder heb ik bij de namen van de meeste individuele kunstenaars een link geplaatst naar hun persoonlijke website, of naar een achtergrondartikel dat voor die kunstenaar relevant is. Voor een introductie en een literatuuroverzicht verwijs ik naar mijn bijdrage in Kunstbeeld, ook op dit blog gepubliceerd

 

Lezing moderne en hedendaagse kunst uit de Arabische wereld

Diversity & Art, 17-5-2011

 

 

Korte inleiding geschiedenis en geografie van de moderne Arabische wereld

  • ·        Het Osmaanse Rijk
  • ·        Het Sykes/Picot accoord
  • ·        De vorming van de nationale staten
  • ·        Het Israëlisch/Palestijnse conflict

       

Vroege modernisten:

     

 

De ‘School van het teken’ (naar Brahim Alaoui):

  

 

Andere voorbeelden van ‘Arabisch modernisme’:

   

Kunst van de Palestijnse Diaspora:

   

Recent opgekomen ‘internationale kunst’:

  

 

Kunst en propaganda:

    • ·        Irak (monumenten, Victory Arch, Babylon, portretten van Saddam Husayn en Michel Aflaq)
    • ·        Syrië (portret Havez al-Assad)
    • ·        Libië (portret Muammar al-Qadhafi)

     

‘Kunst van de Arabische lente’ in Egypte:

  

Iraakse kunstenaars in de Diaspora:

  

       

  

 

Floris Schreve

17-5-2011

Enkele impressies van de lezing:

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Ikzelf pratend achter mijn laptop (powerpointpresentatie). Achter mij het werk van Qassim Alsaedy ‘Shortly after the War’. Zittend achter mij de Iraaks Koerdische journalist Goran Baba Ali

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Tweede rij links ZE Dr. Saad Al-Ali, Ambassadeur van de Republiek Irak in Nederland. Naast hem Qassim Alsaedy.

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Een dia van de kaart van het delingsplan van het Midden Oosten door Engeland en Frankrijk, eind WO I

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Qassim en ikzelf, voorafgaand aan de de lezing

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Op het scherm een werk van de Iraakse kunstenaar Rafa al-Nasiri

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drie keer Qassims installatie Shortly after the War (de slotdia)

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Na afloop met de Iraakse ambassadeur, nog een diplomaat van de ambassade en Qassim Alsaedy

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Qassim Alsaedy met de ambassadeur en twee andere diplomaten

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Goran Baba Ali met Herman Divendal (AIDA)

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Rechtsvoor (achter Goran Baba Ali): Brigitte Reuter (die samen met Qassim het keramische werk maakte) en Peggie Breitbarth, die eerder de tentoonstelling van Persheng Warzandegan opende

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Floris Schreve

فلوريس سحرافا

(أمستردام، هولندا)

Foto’s bij de lezing: Hesam Hama en Frank Schreve

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Hedendaagse kunst uit de Arabische wereld en Iran (verschenen als ingezonden stuk in Kunstbeeld, april 2011)

الفن المعاصر في العالم العربي وإيران

For the english version ‘Modern and contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa’ click here

Tekst van mijn ingezonden stuk in Kunstbeeld van vorige maand, maar hier voorzien van beeldmateriaal en van een groot aantal links in de tekst, die verwijzen naar diverse sites van de kunstenaars, achtergrondartikelen of documentaires. Overigens geef ik op dinsdag 17 mei een lezing over precies dit onderwerp, in Diversity & Art, Sint Nicolaasstraat 21, Amsterdam, om 20.00bij de tentoonstelling van Qassim Alsaedy, zie  http://www.diversityandart.com/centre.htm (zie over de tentoonstelling het vorige artikel op dit blog). Onderstaande tekst kan ook als introductie dienen op wat ik daar veel uitgebreider aan de orde laat komen:

Wafaa Bilal (Iraq, US), from his project ’Domestic Tension’, 2007 (see for more http://wafaabilal.com/html/domesticTension.html )

Hedendaagse kunst uit het Midden Oosten verdient onze aandacht

(in Kunstbeeld, nr. 4, 2011)

Door de recente ontwikkelingen in Tunesië en Egypte en wellicht nog in andere Arabische landen, dringt nu tot de mainstream media door dat er ook in de Arabische wereld en Iran een verlangen naar vrijheid en democratie bestaat. Hoewel in de westerse wereld vaak teruggebracht tot essentialistische clichés, blijkt het beeld van de traditionele Arabier, of de fanatieke moslim vaak niet te kloppen. Het oriëntalistische paradigma, zoals Edward Said het in 1978 heeft omschreven, of zelfs de ‘neo-oriëntalistische’ variant (naar Salah Hassan), die we kennen sinds 9/11, inmiddels ook virulent aanwezig in de Nederlandse politiek, wordt door de beelden van de Arabische satellietzenders als Al Jazeera ontkracht. Er zijn wel degelijk progressieve en vrijheidslievende krachten in het Midden Oosten actief, zoals iedereen nu zelf kan zien.

Pas sinds de laatste jaren begint er steeds meer aandacht te komen voor de hedendaagse kunst uit die regio. Kunstenaars als Mona Hatoum (Palestina), Shirin Neshat (Iran) en de architecte Zaha Hadid (Irak) waren al iets langer zichtbaar in de internationale kunstcircuits. Sinds de afgelopen vijf à tien jaar zijn daar een aantal namen bijgekomen, zoals Ghada Amer (Egypte), Akram Zaatari en Walid Ra’ad (Libanon), Emily Jacir (VS/Palestina) en Fareed Armaly (VS/Palestijns-Libanese ouders), Mounir Fatmi (Marokko), Farhad Mosheri (Iran), Ahmed Mater (Saudi Arabië), Mohammed al-Shammerey en Wafaa Bilal (Irak). Het gaat hier overigens vooral om kunstenaars die tegenwoordig in de westerse wereld wonen en werken.

Afbeelding49

Walid Ra’ad/The Atlas Group (Lebanon), see http://www.theatlasgroup.org/index.html, at Documenta 11, Kassel, 2002

Mounir Fatmi (Morocco), The Connections, installation, 2003 – 2009, see http://www.mounirfatmi.com/2installation/connexions01.html

Toch is het verschijnsel ‘moderne of hedendaagse kunst’ in het Midden Oosten niet iets van de laatste decennia. Vanaf het eind van de Eerste Wereldoorlog, toen de meeste Arabische landen in de huidige vorm ontstonden, trachtten kunstenaars in diverse landen een eigen vorm van het internationale modernisme te creëren. Belangrijke pioniers waren Mahmud Mukhtar (vanaf de jaren twintig in Egypte), Jewad Selim (jaren veertig en vijftig in Irak), of Mohammed Melehi en Farid Belkahia (vanaf de jaren zestig in Marokko). Deze kunstenaars waren de eerste lichting die, na veelal in het westen waren opgeleid, het modernisme in hun geboorteland introduceerden. Sinds die tijd zijn er in de diverse Arabische landen diverse locale kunsttradities ontstaan, waarbij kunstenaars inspiratie putten uit zowel het internationale modernisme, als uit tradities van de eigen cultuur.

Shakir Hassan al-Said (Iraq), Objective Contemplations, oil on board, 1984, see http://universes-in-universe.org/eng/nafas/articles/2008/shakir_hassan_al_said/photos/08

Ali Omar Ermes (Lybia/UK), Fa, Ink and acryl on paper

Dat laatste was overigens niet iets vrijblijvends. In het dekolonisatieproces namen de kunstenaars vaak expliciet stelling tegen de koloniale machthebber. Het opvoeren van locale tradities was hier veelal een strategie voor. Ook gingen, vanaf eind jaren zestig, andere elementen een rol spelen. ‘Pan-Arabisme’ of zelfs het zoeken naar een ‘Pan-islamitische identiteit’ had zijn weerslag op de kunsten. Dit is duidelijk te zien aan wat de Frans Marokkaanse kunsthistoricus Brahim Alaoui ‘l’ Ecole de Signe’ noemde, de school van het teken. De van zichzelf al abstracte kalligrafische en decoratieve traditie van de islamitische kunst, werd in veel verschillende varianten gecombineerd met eigentijdse abstracte kunst. De belangrijkste representanten van deze unieke ‘stroming’ binnen de moderne islamitische kunst waren Shakir Hassan al-Said (Irak, overleden in 2004), of de nog altijd zeer actieve kunstenaars Rachid Koraichi (Algerije, woont en werkt in Frankrijk), Ali Omar Ermes (Libië, woont en werkt in Engeland) en Wijdan Ali (Jordanië).

Laila Shawa (Palestine), Gun for Palestine (from ‘The Walls of Gaza’), silkscreen on canvas, 1995

Wat wel bijzonder problematisch is geweest voor de ontwikkeling van de eigentijdse kunst van het Midden Oosten, zijn de grote crises van de laatste decennia. De dictatoriale regimes, de vele oorlogen of, in het geval van Palestina, de bezetting door Israël, hebben de kunsten vaak danig in de weg gezeten. Als de kunsten werden gestimuleerd, dan was dat vaak voor propagandadoeleinden, met Irak als meest extreme voorbeeld (de vele portretten en standbeelden van Saddam Hussein spreken voor zich). Vele kunstenaars zagen zich dan ook genoodzaakt om uit te wijken in de diaspora (dit geldt vooral voor Palestijnse en Iraakse kunstenaars). In Nederland wonen er ruim boven de honderd kunstenaars uit het Midden Oosten, waarvan de grootste groep uit vluchtelingen uit Irak bestaat (ongeveer tachtig). Toch is het merendeel van deze kunstenaars niet bekend bij de diverse Nederlandse culturele instellingen.

Mohamed Abla (Egypt), Looking for a Leader, acrylic on canvas, 2006

In de huidige constellatie van enerzijds de toegenomen afkeer van de islamitische wereld in veel Europese landen, die zich veelal vertaalt in populistische politieke partijen, of in samenzweringstheorieën over ‘Eurabië’ en anderzijds de zeer recente stormachtige ontwikkelingen in de Arabische wereld zelf, zou het een prachtkans zijn om deze kunst meer zichtbaar te maken. Het Midden Oosten is in veel opzichten een ‘probleemgebied’, maar er is ook veel in beweging. De jongeren in Tunesië, Egypte en wellicht andere Arabische landen, die met blogs, facebook en twitter hun vermolmde dictaturen de baas waren, hebben dit zonder meer aangetoond. Laat ons zeker een blik de kunsten werpen. Er valt veel te ontdekken.

Floris Schreve

Amsterdam, februari 2011

Ahmed Mater (Saoedi Arabië), Evolution of Man, Cairo Biënnale, 2008. NB at the moment Mater is exhibiting in Amsterdam, at Willem Baars Project, Hoogte Kadijk 17, till the 30th of july. See http://www.baarsprojects.com/

Tot zover mijn bijdrage in Kunstbeeld. Ik wil hieronder nog een klein literatuuroverzichtje geven van een paar basiswerken, die er in de afgelopen jaren verschenen zijn.

• Brahim Alaoui, Art Contemporain Arabe, Institut du Monde Arabe, Parijs, 1996
• Brahim Alaoui, Mohamed Métalsi, Quatre Peintres Arabe Première ; Azzaoui, El Kamel, Kacimi, Marwan, Institut du Monde Arabe, Parijs, 1988.
• Brahim Alaoui, Maria Lluïsa Borràs, Schilders uit de Maghreb, Centrum voor Beeldende Kunst, Gent, 1994
• Brahim Alaoui, Laila Al Wahidi, Artistes Palestiniens Contemporains, Institut du Monde Arabe, Parijs, 1997
• Wijdan Ali, Contemporary Art from the Islamic World, Al Saqi Books, Londen, 1989.
• Wijdan Ali, Modern Islamic Art; Development and continuity, University of Florida Press, 1997
• Hossein Amirsadeghi , Salwa Mikdadi, Nada Shabout, ao, New Vision; Arab Contemporary Art in the 21st Century, Thames and Hudson, Londen, 2009.
• Michael Archer, Guy Brett, Catherine de Zegher, Mona Hatoum, Phaidon Press, New York, 1997
• Mouna Atassi, Contemporary Art in Syria, Damascus, 1998
• Wafaa Bilal (met Kari Lydersen), Shoot an Iraqi; Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun, City Lights, New York, 2008 (zie hier ook een voordracht van Wafaa Bilal over zijn boek en project)
• Catherine David (ed),Tamass 2: Contemporary Arab Representations: Cairo, Witte De With Center For Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, 2005
• Saeb Eigner, Art of the Middle East; modern and contemporary art of the Arab World and Iran, Merrell, Londen/New York, 2010 (met een voorwoord van de beroemde Iraakse architecte Zaha Hadid).
• Maysaloun Faraj (ed.), Strokes of genius; contemporary Iraqi art, Saqi Books, Londen, 2002 (zie hier een presentatie van de Strokes of Genius exhibition)
• Mounir Fatmi, Fuck the architect, published on the occasion of the Brussels Biennal, 2008
• Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, Grassroots of the Modern Iraqi Art, al Dar al Arabiya, Bagdad, 1986.
• Liliane Karnouk, Modern Egyptian Art; the emergence of a National Style, American University of Cairo Press, 1988, Cairo
• Samir Al Khalil (pseudoniem van Kanan Makiya), The Monument; art, vulgarity and responsibillity in Iraq, Andre Deutsch, Londen, 1991
• Robert Kluijver, Borders; contemporary Middle Eastern art and discourse, Gemak, The Hague, October 2007/ January 2009
• Mohamed Metalsi, Croisement de Signe, Institut du Monde Arabe, Parijs, 1989 (over oa Shakir Hassan al-Said)
Revue Noire; African Contemporary Art/Art Contemporain Africain: Morocco/Maroc, nr. 33-34, 2ème semestre, 1999, Parijs (uitgebreid themanummer over Marokko).
• Ahmed Fouad Selim, 7th International Biennial of Cairo, Cairo, 1998.
• Ahmed Fouad Selim, 8th International Biennial of Cairo, Cairo, 2001.
• M. Sijelmassi, l’Art Contemporain au Maroc, ACR Edition, Parijs, 1889.
• Walid Sadek, Tony Chakar, Bilal Khbeiz, Tamass 1; Beirut/Lebanon, Witte De With Center For Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, 2002
• Paul Sloman (ed.), met bijdragen van  Wijdan Ali, Nat Muller, Lindsey Moore ea, Contemporary Art in the Middle East, Black Dog Publishing, Londen, 2009
• Stephen Stapleton (red.), met bijdragen van Venetia Porter, Ashraf Fayadh, Aarnout Helb, ea, Ahmed Mater, Booth-Clibborn Productions, Abha/Londen 2010 (zie ook www.ahmedmater.com)
• Rayya El Zein & Alex Ortiz, Signs of the Times: the Popular Literature of Tahrir; Protest Signs, Graffiti, and Street Art, New York, 2011 (see http://arteeast.org/pages/literature/641/

Verder nog een aantal links naar relevante websites van kunstinstellingen, manifestaties, tijdschriften, musea en galleries voor hedendaagse kunst uit het Midden Oosten:

Mijn eigen bijdragen (of waar ik mede een bijdrage aan heb geleverd) elders op het web

Op dit blog:

Iraakse kunstenaars in ballingschap

Drie kunstenaars uit de Arabische wereld

Ziad Haider (begeleidende tekst
tentoonstelling)

Qassim Alsaedy (begeleidende tekst tentoonstelling)

Interview met de Iraakse kunstenaar Qassim Alsaedy

Hoshyar Saeed Rasheed (begeleidende tekst tentoonstelling)

Aras Kareem (begeleidende tekst tentoonstelling)

links naar artikelen en uitzendingen over kunstenaars uit de Arabische wereld

De terugkeer van Irak naar de Biënnale van Venetië

Nedim Kufi en Ahmed Mater; twee bijzondere kunstenaars uit de Arabische wereld nu in Amsterdam

Kunstenaars uit de Arabische wereld in Nederland (Eutopia, 2011)

Zie ook mijn nieuwe Engelstalige blog over oa hedendaagse kunst uit de Arabische wereld On Global/Local Art

Tentoonstelling Diversity & Art- Qassim Alsaedy (Bagdad 1949) قاسم الساعدي

 

قاسم الساعدي 

Qassim Alsaedy – ‘Shortly after the War’

Qassim Alsaedy werd in 1949 geboren in Bagdad. Zijn familie kwam oorspronkelijk uit de zuidelijke stad al-Amara, maar was, zoals zo velen in die tijd, naar de hoofdstad vetrokken. Het gezin had zich gevestigd in een huis vlak naast de Jumhuriyya Brug over de Tigris, niet ver van het Plein van de Onafhankelijkheid. Voor Alsaedy’s keuze voor het kunstenaarschap was dit gegeven zeker van belang. Na de revolutie van 1958, toen de door de Britten gesteunde monarchie van de troon werd gestoten, werd er op dit plein een begin gemaakt aan de bouw het beroemde vrijheidsmonument (Nasb al-Huriyya) van Iraks bekendste beeldhouwer Jewad Selim, die tegenwoordig veelal wordt gezien als de belangrijkste grondlegger van de modernistische kunst van Irak. Dit werk, dat in 1962 na de dood van Selim voltooid werd, maakte een grote indruk op Alsaedy. Het vrijheidsmonument van Jewad Selim deed Alsaedy voor het eerst beseffen dat kunst niet alleen mooi hoeft te zijn, maar ook werkelijk iets te betekenen kan hebben.

Ook een expositie van de beroemde Iraakse kunstenaar Shakir Hassan al-Said in het Kolbankian Museum in Bagdad in 1962, maakte grote indruk. Alsaedy besloot om zelf kunstenaar te worden. In 1969 deed hij zijn toelatingsexamen aan de kunstacademie van Bagdad, bij Shakir Hassan al-Said, die uiteindelijk een van zijn belangrijkste docenten zou worden in de tweede fase van zijn opleiding.

In de tijd dat Alsaedy zich inschreef aan de kunstacademie had Irak een roerige periode achter de rug en waren de vooruitzichten bijzonder grimmig. In 1963 had een kleine maar fanatieke nationalistische en autoritaire groepering, de Ba’thpartij, kortstondig de macht gegrepen. In de paar maanden dat deze partij aan de macht was, richtte zij een ware slachting aan onder alle mogelijke opponenten. Omdat de Ba’thi’s zo te keer gingen had het leger nog in datzelfde jaar ingegrepen en de Ba’thpartij weer uit de macht gezet. Tot 1968 werd Irak bestuurd door het autoritaire en militaire bewind van de gebroeders Arif, dat wel voor enige stabiliteit zorgde en geleidelijk steeds meer vrijheden toestond. In 1968 wist de Ba’thpartij echter weer de macht te grijpen, deze keer met meer succes. Het bewind zou aan de macht blijven tot 2003, toen een Amerikaanse invasiemacht  Saddam Husayn (president vanaf 1979) van de troon stootte. Toch opereerde de Ba’thpartij aan het begin van de jaren zeventig voorzichtiger dan in 1963 en dan zij later in de jaren zeventig zou doen. In eerste instantie werd het kunstonderwijs met rust gelaten, hoewel daar, precies in de periode dat Alsaedy studeerde, daar geleidelijk aan verandering in kwam.

        

Links: Qassim Alsaedy met Faiq Hassan (links), begin jaren zeventig
Rechts: Qassim Alsaedy met de kunstenaar Kadhim Haydar, ook een van zijn docenten, begin jaren zeventig (foto’s collectie Qassim Alsaedy)

Zover was het nog niet in 1969. Vanaf de jaren veertig was er in Irak een bloeiende avant-garde beweging ontstaan, vooral geïnitieerd door Jewad Selim en de Bagdadgroep voor Eigentijdse Kunst. Naast de groep rond Jewad Selim was er ook Faiq Hassan (Alsaedy’s belangrijkste docent in zijn eerste jaar) en Mahmud Sabri, wiens radicale avant-gardistische opvattingen zo slecht in de smaak vielen bij de Ba’thpartij, dat hij bijna uit de geschiedschrijving van de Iraakse moderne kunst is verdwenen. Toch waren juist de ideeën van Sabri, die al in de vroege jaren zeventig in ballingschap ging en zich uiteindelijk in Praag vestigde,  van groot belang voor Alsaedy’s visie op zijn kunstenaarschap. Van Sabri, die een geheel nieuw artistiek concept had ontwikkeld, het zogenaamde Quantum Realisme,leerde Alsaedy dat de kunstenaar de kunstenaar vooral een verschil kan maken door geheel vrij en onafhankelijk te zijn van welke stroming, ideologie of gedachtegoed dan ook, iets  wat hij in zijn verdere loopbaan altijd zou proberen na te streven.

Een andere belangrijke docent van Alsaedy was Shakir Hassan al-Said, een van de beroemdste kunstenaars van Irak en zelfs van de Arabische wereld. Al-Said bracht Alsaedy ook in contact met Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, de beroemde schrijver en kunstcriticus van Palestijnse afkomst, in die dagen een van de belangrijkste figuren binnen de Iraakse kunstscene. Maar verder was de invloed van Shakir Hassan van groot belang op Alsaedy’s artistieke vorming.  Na een expressionistische periode had Shakir Hassan al Said een zeer persoonlijke abstracte beeldtaal ontwikkeld, waarbij het Arabische alfabet als basis diende. Ook had al-Said een uitgebreide theorie ontwikkeld, die hij voor zijn werk als uitgangspunt nam. Hijzelf en een aantal geestverwanten vormden de zogenaamde One Dimension Group. Hoewel er misschien iets van een oppervlakkige verwantschap is tussen het werk van Shakir Hassan al-Said en dat van Alsaedy – ook al-Said liet zich vaak inspireren door opschriften op muren en ook veel van zijn werken hebben titels als Writings on a Wall zijn er ook wezenlijke verschillen. Al-Said en zijn geestverwanten putten vooral inspiratie uit de abstracte islamitische traditie, waarbij zij vooral het Arabisch schrift als uitgangspunt namen. De bronnen van Alsaedy hebben veelal een andere oorsprong, die niet in de laatste plaats samenhangen met een van de meest indringende ervaringen van leven.

Qassim Alsaedy, Rhythms in White, assemblage van dobbelstenen, 1999

Halverwege Alsaedy’s tijd aan de academie werd de controle van de Ba’thpartij, die nog maar net aan de macht was, steeds sterker. Het regime begon zich ook met het kunstonderwijs te bemoeien. Op een geven moment werd Alsaedy, samen met een paar anderen, uitgenodigd door een paar functionarissen van het regime. In 2000 beschreef Alsaedy deze bijeenkomst als volgt: ‘We were invited for a meeting to drink some tea and to talk. They told us they liked to exhibit our works, in a good museum, with a good catalogue and they promised all these works would be sold, for the prize we asked.  It seemed that the heaven was open for us. But then they came with their conditions. We had to work according the official ideology  and they should give us specific titles. We refused their offer, because we were artists who were faithful towards our own responsibility: making good and honest art. When we agreed we would sold ourselves. (..) Later they found some very cheap artists who were willing to sell themselves to the regime and they joined them. All their paintings had been sold and the prizes were high. One of them, I knew him very well, he bought a new villa and a new car. And in this way they took all the works of these bad artists, and showed them and said: “Well, this is from the party and these are  the artists of Iraq”. The others were put in the margins of the cultural life’ (uit mijn Interview met Qassim Alsaedy, 8-8-2000).

Qassim Alsaedy, Saltwall, olieverf op doek, 2005

Alsaedy benadrukt dat bijna zijn hele generatie ‘nee’ heeft gezegd tegen het regime, waarvoor velen een hoge prijs hebben moeten betalen. Alsaedy spreekt dan ook van ‘the lost generation’, waarmee hij specifiek de lichting kunstenaars van de jaren zeventig bedoelt. De kunstenaars van voor die tijd hadden al een carrière voordat het regime zich met de kunsten ging bemoeien en de latere generatie had te maken met kunstinstituties die al geheel waren geïncorporeerd in het staatsapparaat. De problemen waarmee die kunstenaars te maken kregen waren natuurlijk minstens net zo groot, maar van een andere aard, dan de lichting kunstenaars die gevormd werd gedurende de periode van transitie. De generatie van de jaren zeventig zag en ervoer hoe de kunstscene langzaam werd ‘geba’thificeerd’.

Ook was Alsaedy lid van een verboden studentenbond. Dit alles leidde uiteindelijk tot zijn arrestatie. Op een gegeven moment werd Alsaedy midden op de dag opgepakt en afgevoerd naar de meest beruchte gevangenis van Irak van dat moment, al-Qasr al-Nihayyah, ‘het Paleis van het Einde’. Dit was het voormalige Koninklijke Paleis dat in de jaren zeventig door het regime als gevangenis was ingericht, totdat in de jaren tachtig de inmiddels algemeen bekende en beruchte Abu Ghraib open ging.

Voor negen maanden ging Alsaedy door de meest intensieve periode van zijn leven. Martelingen en de permanente dreiging van executie waren aan de orde van de dag. Gedurende de negen maanden dat hij zich hier bevond werd Alsaedy teruggeworpen tot zijn meest elementaire bestaan. Zijn omgeving was gereduceerd tot de gevangenismuren. Daar kwam Alsaedy tot een belangrijk inzicht. Hij ontdekte dat de velen die voor hem zich in deze ruimte hadden bevonden kleine sporen van hun bestaan hadden achtergelaten. Op de muren waren ingekraste tekeningen of opschriften zichtbaar, meestal nog maar vaag zichtbaar.  Alsaedy kwam tot het besef dat deze tekeningen van de gevangenen de laatste strohalm betekenden om mens te blijven. Zelfs in de donkerste omstandigheden trachtten mensen op de been te blijven door zich te uiten in primitief gemaakte tekeningen of om hun getuigenissen op de muren te krassen. Dit inzicht zou allesbepalend zijn voor Alsaedy’s verdere kunstenaarschap. Het thema ‘krassen of tekens op muren’, de rode draad in zijn hele oeuvre, vond hier zijn oorsprong.

Na deze negen maanden werd Alsaedy, middels een onverwachte amnestieafkondiging, samen met een groep andere gevangenen weer vrijgelaten. Een succesvol bestaan als kunstenaar via de gevestigde kanalen in Irak zat er voor hem niet meer in. Alsaedy werd definitief als verdacht bestempeld en was bij het regime uit de gratie geraakt. Hij besloot zijn heil elders te zoeken en week in 1979 uit naar Libanon. Daar participeerde hij samen met andere uitgeweken Iraakse kunstenaars aan een tentoonstelling die  mede een aanklacht was tegen het regime van de Ba’thpartij in Irak.

De onrustige situatie in het Midden Oosten maakte dat Qassim Alsaedy als Iraakse balling altijd op de vlucht moest, om te proberen elders een (tijdelijk) veilig heenkomen te zoeken. Door de burgeroorlog was Libanon een allerminst veilige plek en bovendien voltrokken zich ook nieuwe ontwikkelingen in Irak. Saddam Husayn was inmiddels president geworden en had alle oppositie, zelfs binnen zijn eigen partij, geëlimineerd. Vervolgens had hij zijn land in een bloedige oorlog met Iran gestort. Hoewel de Ba’thpartij met straffe hand het land controleerde, was er in het Koerdische noorden een soort schemergebied ontstaan, waar veel Iraakse oppositiekrachten naar waren uitgeweken. Door de chaotische frontlinies van de oorlog en doordat de Koerden, beter dan welke andere groepering in Irak, zich hadden georganiseerd in verzetsgroepen, was dit een gebied een soort vrijhaven geworden. Alsaedy kwam in 1982 terecht in de buurt van Dohuk, in westelijk Koerdistan en sloot zich, samen met andere Iraakse ‘politiek ontheemden’, aan bij de Peshmerga, de Koerdische verzetsstrijders. Naast dat hij zich bij het verzet had aangesloten was hij ook actief als kunstenaar. Naar aanleiding van deze ervaringen maakte hij later een serie werken, die bedekt zijn met een zwarte laag, maar waarvan de onderliggende gekleurde lagen sporadisch zichtbaar zijn door de diepe krassen die hij in zijn schilderijen had aangebracht.

Qassim Alsaedy, Black Field, olieverf op doek, 1999

Alsaedy over deze werken (zie bovenstaande afbeelding): ‘In Kurdistan I joined the movement which was against the regime. I worked there also as an artist. I exhibited there and made an exhibition in a tent for all these people in the villages, but anyhow, the most striking was the Iraqi regime used a very special policy against Kurdistan, against this area and also against other places in Iraq. They burned and sacrificed the fields by enormous bombings. So you see, and I saw it by myself, huge fields became totally black. The houses, trees, grass, everything was black. But look, when you see the burned grass, late in the season, you could see some little green points, because the life and the beauty is stronger than the evil. The life was coming through. So you saw black, but there was some green coming up. For example I show you this painting which is extremely black, but it is to deep in my heart. Maybe you can see it hardly but when you look very sensitive you see some little traces of life. You see the life is still there. It shines through the blackness. The life is coming back’ (geciteerd uit mijn interview met Alsaedy uit 2000).

Een impressie uit Alsaedy’s atelier, februari 2011

Gedurende bijna de hele oorlog met Iran verbleef Alsaedy in Koerdistan. Aan het eind van de oorlog, in 1988, lanceerde het Iraakse regime de operatie al-Anfal, de grootschalige zuivering van het Koerdische platteland en de bombardementen met chemische wapens op diverse Koerdische steden en dorpen, waarvan die op Halabja het meest berucht is geworden. Voor Alsaedy was het in Irak definitief te gevaarlijk geworden en moest hij zijn heil elders zoeken.

Het werd uiteindelijk Libië. Alsaedy: ‘I moved to Libya because I had no any choice to go to some other place in the world. I couldn’t go for any other place, because I couldn’t have a visa. It was the only country in the world I could go. Maybe it was a sort of destiny. I lived there for seven years. After two years the Kuwait war broke out in Iraq followed by the embargo and all the punishments. In this time it was impossible for a citizen of Iraq to have a visa for any country in the world’ (uit interview met Qassim Alsaedy, 2000).

Hoe vreemd het in de context van nu ook mag klinken, gedurende die tijd leefde Muammar al-Qadhafi in onmin met zo’n beetje alle Arabische leiders, inclusief Saddam Husayn. Het was precies op dat moment in de grillige loopbaan van de Libische dictator, dat hij zijn deuren opende voor alle mogelijke dissidenten van diverse pluimage uit de hele Arabische wereld. Ook Alsaedy kon daar zijn heenkomen zoeken en hij kreeg bovendien een betrekking als docent aan de kunstacademie van Tripoli.

   

   

Qassim Alsaedy werkt met zijn studenten in Tripoli aan een speciaal muurschilderingenproject, in 1989 en in 1994 (foto’s collectie Qassim Alsaedy)- klik op afbeelding voor vergrote weergave

In Libië voerde hij ook een groot muurschilderingenproject uit. Tegen zijn eigen verwachting in kreeg hij toestemming voor zijn plannen. Alsaedy: ‘I worked as a teacher on the academy of Tripoli, but the most interesting thing I did there was making many huge wallpaintings. The impossible happened when the city counsel of Tripoli supported me to execute this project. I had always the dream how to make the city as beautiful as possible. I was thinking about Bagdad when I made it. My old dream was to do something like that in Bagdad, but it was always impossible to do that, because of the regime. I believe all the people in the world have the right on freedom, on water, on sun, on air, but also the right on beauty. They have the right on beauty in the world, or in their lives. So one of my aims was to make wallpaintings and I worked hard on it. They were abstract paintings, but I tried to give them something of the atmosphere of the city. It is an Arabic, Islamic city with Italian elements. I tried to make something new when I studied the Islamic architecture. I worked on them with my students and so something very unusual happened, especially for the girls, because in our society it is not very usual to see the girls painting on the street. It was a kind of a shock, but in a nice way. It brought something positive’ (interview met Qassim Alsaedy, 2000).

Toch was ook Libië een politiestaat en zat het gevaar in een klein hoekje. De functionaris van het Libische regime, onder wiens verantwoordelijkheid Alsaedy’s project viel, vond een oranjekleurige zon in een van Alsaedy’s muurschilderingen verdacht. Volgens hem was deze zon eigenlijk rood en zou het gaan om verkapte communistische propaganda (zie bovenstaande afbeeldingen, rechtsonder). Alsaedy werd te kennen gegeven dat hij de zon groen moest schilderen, de kleur van de ‘officiële ideologie’ van het Qadhafi-bewind (zie het beruchte en inmiddels ook hier bekende ‘Groene Boekje’). Alsaedy weigerde dit en werd meteen ontslagen.

Zijn ontslag betekende ook dat Alsaedy’s verblijf in Libië een riskante aangelegenheid was geworden. Hij exposeerde nog wel in het Franse Culturele Instituut, maar had alle reden om zich niet meer veilig te voelen. Hij besloot dat het beter was om met zijn gezin zo snel mogelijk naar Europa te verdwijnen. Uiteindelijk kwam hij in 1994 aan in Nederland.

Vanaf eind jaren negentig, toen Alsaedy na een turbulent leven met vele omzwervingen ook de rust had gevonden om aan zijn oeuvre te bouwen, begon hij langzaam maar zeker zichtbaar te worden in de Nederlandse kunstcircuits. Zijn eerste tentoonstellingen waren vaak samen met zijn ook uit Irak afkomstige vriend Ziad Haider (zie deze eerdere expositie). Met een viertal andere uit Irak afkomstige kunstenaars (waaronder ook Hoshyar Rasheed, zie deze eerdere expositie) exposeerde hij in 1999 in Museum Rijswijk, zijn eerste museale tentoonstelling in Nederland.

In die periode werd de centrale thematiek van Alsaedy’s werk steeds meer zichtbaar. Voor Qassim Alsaedy staan de sporen die de mens in de loop der geschiedenis achterlaat centraal, van de vroegste oudheid (bijvoorbeeld Mesopotamië) tot het recente verleden (zie zijn ervaring in de gevangenis, of de zwarte laag in zijn ‘Koerdische landschappen’).

In 2000 formuleerde hij zijn centrale concept als volgt: ‘When I lived in Baghdad I travelled very often to Babylon or other places, which were not to far from  Baghdad. It is interesting to see how people reuse the elements of the ancient civilizations. For example, my mother had an amulet of cylinder formed limestones. She wore this amulet her whole lifetime, especially using it when she had, for example a headache. Later I asked her: “Let me see, what kind of stones are these?” Then I discovered something amazing. These cylinder stones, rolling them on the clay, left some traces like the ancient writings on the clay tablets. There was some text and there were some drawings. It suddenly looked very familiar. I asked her: “what is this, how did you get these stones?” She told me that she got it from her mother, who got it from her mother, etc. So you see, there is a strong connection with the human past, not only in the museum, but even in your own house. When you visit Babylon you find the same traces of these stones. So history didn’t end.

In my home country it is sometimes very windy. When the wind blows the air is filled with dust. Sometimes it can be very dusty you can see nothing. Factually this is the dust of Babylon, Ninive, Assur, the first civilizations. This is the dust you breath, you have it on your body, your clothes, it is in your memory, blood, it is everywhere, because the Iraqi civilizations had been made of clay. We are a country of rivers, not of stones. The dust you breath it belongs to something. It belongs to houses, to people or to some clay tablets. I feel it in this way; the ancient civilizations didn’t end. The clay is an important condition of making life. It is used by people and then it becomes dust, which falls in the water, to change again in thick clay. There is a permanent circle of water, clay, dust, etc. It is how life is going on and on.

I have these elements in me. I use them not because I am homesick, or to cry for my beloved country. No it is more than this. I feel the place and I feel the meaning of the place. I feel the voices and the spirits in those dust, clay, walls and air. In this atmosphere I can find a lot of elements which I can reuse or recycle. You can find these things in my work; some letters, some shadows, some voices or some traces of people. On every wall you can find traces. The wall is always a sign of human life’ (interview met Qassim Alsaedy, 2000).

Qassim Alsaedy, Rhythms, spijkers op hout, 1998

 

Qassim Alsaedy, uit de serie Faces of Baghdad, assemblage van metaal en lege patroonhulzen op paneel, 2005 (geëxposeerd op de Biënnale van Florence van 2005)

Een opvallend element in Alsaedy’s werk is het gebruik van spijkers. Ook op deze tentoonstelling zijn daar een aantal voorbeelden van te zien. Over een ander werk, een assemblage van spijkers in een verschillende staat van verroesting zei Alsaedy (voor een documentaire van de Ikon uit 2003) het volgende: ‘Dit heb ik gemaakt om iets over de pijn te vertellen. Wanneer de spijkers wegroesten zullen zij uiteindelijk verdwijnen. Er blijven dan alleen nog maar een paar gaatjes over. En een paar kruisjes’ (uit Beeldenstorm, ‘Factor’, Ikon, 17 juni 2003).

Een zelfde soort element zijn de patroonhulzen, die vaak terugkeren in Alsaedy’s werk, ook op deze tentoonstelling. Ook deze zullen uiteindelijk vergaan en slechts een litteken achterlaten.

In een eerder verband heb ik Alsaedy’s werk weleens vergeleken met dat van Armando (bijv.  in ISIM Newsletter 13, december 2003). Beiden raken dezelfde thematiek. Toch zijn er ook belangrijke verschillen. In zijn ‘Schuldige Landschappen’ geeft Armando uitdrukking aan het idee dat er op een plaats waar zich een dramatische gebeurtenis heeft afgespeeld (Armando verwijst vaak naar de concentratiekampen van de Nazi’s) er altijd iets zal blijven hangen, al zijn alle sporen uitgewist. Alsaedy gaat van hetzelfde uit, maar legt toch een ander accent. In zijn zwarte werken en met zijn gebruik van spijkers en patroonhulzen  benadrukt Alsaedy juist dat de tijd uiteindelijk alle wonden heelt, al zal er wel een spoor achterblijven.

Qassim Alsaedy (ism Brigitte Reuter), Who said no?, installatie Flehite Museum, Amersfoort, 2006

Sinds de laatste tien jaar duikt er in het werk van Alsaedy steeds vaker een crucifix op. Ook op deze tentoonstelling is daar een voorbeeld van te zien. Dat is opmerkelijk, omdat de kunstenaar geen Christelijke achtergrond heeft en ook niet Christelijk is. Alsaedy heeft het verhaal van Jezus echter ontdaan van zijn religieuze elementen.  Duidelijk bracht hij dit tot uitdrukking in zijn installatie in het Flehite Museum in Amersfoort, getiteld ‘Who said No?’ Los van de religieuze betekenis, is Jezus voor Alsaedy het ultieme voorbeeld van iemand die duidelijk ‘Nee’ heeft gezegd tegen de onderdrukking en daar weliswaar een hoge prijs voor heeft betaald, maar uiteindelijk gewonnen heeft. Op de manier zoals Alsaedy de crucifix heeft verwerkt is het een herkenbaar symbool geworden tegen dictatuur in welke vorm dan ook.

Detail ‘tegelvloer’ van Qassim Alsaedy en Brigitte Reuter

Gedurende de afgelopen tien jaar heeft Alsaedy veel samengewerkt met de ceramiste Brigitte Reuter. Ook op deze tentoonstelling zijn een aantal van hun gezamenlijke werken geëxposeerd. Gezien Alsaedy’s fascinatie voor het materiaal (zie zijn eerdere opmerkingen over de beschavingen uit de oudheid van Irak) was dit een logische keuze. De objecten zijn veelal door Reuter gecreëerd en door Alsaedy van reliëf voorzien, vaak een zelfde soort tekens die hij in zijn schilderijen heeft verwerkt. Door de klei te bakken, weer te bewerken of te glazuren en weer opnieuw te bakken, ontstaat er een zelfde soort gelaagdheid die ook in zijn andere werken is te zien. Een hoogtepunt van hun samenwerking was een installatie in het Rijksmuseum voor Oudheden in Leiden in 2008. In het Egyptische tempeltje van Taffeh, dat daar in de centrale hal staat, legden zij een vloer aan van gebakken en bewerkte stenen. Maar ook eerder, in het Flehite Museum, waren veel van hun gezamenlijke ‘vloeren’ en objecten te zien.

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Uit Book of Time, gemengde technieken op papier, 2001 (detail)

Een ander interessant onderdeel van Alsaedy’s oeuvre zijn zijn tekeningenboekjes. Op deze tentoonstelling is daar een van te bezichtigen,  Book of Time, uit 2001. Pagina na pagina heeft hij, als het ware laag over laag, verschillende tekens aangebracht met verschillende technieken (pentekening, inkt, aquarel en collage). Ook hier is zijn kenmerkende ‘tekenschrift’ zeer herkenbaar.

In 2003 werd het Ba’thregime van Saddam Husayn door een Amerikaanse invasiemacht ten val gebracht. Net als op alle in ballingschap levende Iraki’s, had dit ook op Qassim Alsaedy een grote impact. Hoewel zeker geen voorstander van de Amerikaanse invasie en bezetting (zoals de meeste van zijn landgenoten) betekende het wel dat, ondanks alle onzekerheden, er nieuwe mogelijkheden waren ontstaan. En bovenal dat het voor Alsaedy weer mogelijk was om zijn vaderland te bezoeken.  In de zomer van 2003 keerde hij voor het eerst terug. Naast

 

  

Qassim Alsaedy, object uit ‘Last Summer in Baghdad’, assemblage van kleurpotloden op paneel, 2003

Qassim Alsaedy, Shortly after the War, 2011 (detail)

dat hij natuurlijk zijn familie en oude vrienden had bezocht, sprak hij ook met een heleboel kunstenaars, dichters, schrijvers, musici, dansers en vele anderen over hoe het Iraakse culturele leven onder het regime van Saddam had geleden. Van de vele uren film die hij maakte, zond de VPRO een korte compilatie uit, in het kunstprogramma RAM, 19-10-2003 (hier te bekijken).

In de jaren daarna bleef dit bezoek een belangrijke bron van inspiratie. Alsaedy maakte verschillende installaties en objecten. Vaak zijn in deze werken twee kanten van de medaille vertegenwoordigd, zowel de oorlog en het geweld, maar ook de schoonheid, die eeuwig is en het tijdelijke overwint.

Vanaf halverwege de jaren 2000 is Qassim Alsaedy steeds zichtbaarder geworden in zowel Nederlandse als buitenlandse kunstinstellingen. Vanaf 2003 exposeerde hij regelmatig  in de gerenommeerde galerie van Frank Welkenhuysen in Utrecht, waar hij tegenwoordig als vaste kunstenaar aan verbonden is. Ook participeerde hij in de Biënnale van Florence in 2003 en exposeerde hij tweemaal in het Rijksmuseum van Oudheden. Een belangrijk hoogtepunt was zijn grote solotentoonstelling in het Flehite Museum in Amersfoort in 2006.

Met enige trots presenteren wij in Diversity & Art zijn project ‘Shortly after the War’.

Floris Schreve

Amsterdam, april 2011

 

 

 

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 Qassim Alsaedy bij de inrichting van de tentoonstelling

Diversity & Art | Sint Nicolaasstraat 21 | 1012 NJ Amsterdam| The Netherlands | open: Thursday 13.00 – 19.00 | Friday and Saturday 13.00 – 17.00 

VERLENGD TOT ZATERDAG 4 JUNI 

 

قاسم الساعدي 

 

April 22-Qassim Alsaedy “Shortly after the War” May 28

Alsaedy

Opening on Friday April 22 at 17:30 by Neil van der Linden,
specialist in art and culture of the Arab and Muslim world
(mainly in the field of music and theater)

doors open at 16.30

LectureonTUESDAY,May 17at 20:00byFloris Schreve
“Modern and Contemporary ArtofIraqand the Arab world”

 
Qassim Alsaedy (Baghdad 1949) studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad from 1969 to 1973. He was a student of the late Shakir Hassan al-Said, one of the most significant and influential artists of Iraq and even the Arab World. During his time at the academy Alsaedy was arrested and imprisoned for almost a year. Free again in1979, he organized with other Iraqi artists an exhibition in Lebanon, in which they stated against the Iraqi regime. Back in Iraq, he joined the Kurdish rebels in the North, where he also was active as an artists and even exhibited in tents. After the Anfal campaign against the Kurds in1988 he withdrew to Libya where he could work in relative freedom and where he became a teacher at the Art Academy of Tripoli until 1994, when he came to the Netherlands .
Alsaedy’s work is dominated by two themes, love versus pain and the ongoing cycle of growth and decay, a recycling of material when man leaves his characters and traces as a sign of existence through the course of history.Love is represented by beauty in bright and deep colors. The pain from the scars of war and destruction is visualized by the empty cartridge cases from the battlefield or represented by the rusty nails, an important element in many of his works. “The pain has resolved as the nails are completely rusted away”, states Alsaedy. In his three dimensional work, the duality of pain and beauty is always the main theme.

For this occasion Qassim Alsaedy will present his installation of several objects ‘Shortly after the War’. The ceramic objects are created in collaboration with the Dutch/German artist Brigitte Reuter (see http://www.utrechtseaarde.nl/reuter_b.html )

 Alsaedy

An impression of Alsaedy’s recent work in his studio (February 2011):

See also:

http://www.qassim-alsaedy.com/

http://www.kunstexpert.com/kunstenaar.aspx?id=4481

http://www.diversityandart.com/centre.htm

See also on this blog:

Interview with the Iraqi artist Qassim Alsaedy

In Dutch:

Iraakse kunstenaars in ballingschap

Drie kunstenaars uit de Arabische wereld

links naar artikelen en uitzendingen over kunstenaars uit de Arabische wereld

Denkend aan Bagdad- door Lien Heyting

van International Network of Iraqi Artists (iNCIA), Londen: http://www.incia.co.uk/31293.html.

SOLO EXHIBITION

Qassim Alsaedy

22 Apr – 28 May 2011

Diversity and Art
Netherlands

Born Baghdad 1949, AlSaedy studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad from 1969-73. He was a student of the late Shakir Hassan al-Said, one of the most significant and influential artists of Iraq and even the Arab World. During his time at the academy Alsaedy was arrested and imprisoned for almost a year. Free again in1979, he organized with other Iraqi artists an exhibition in Lebanon, as a statement against the Iraqi regime. Back in Iraq, he joined the Kurdish rebels in the North, where he also was active as an artist and even exhibited in tents. After the Anfal campaign against the Kurds in 1988 he withdrew to Libya where he could work in relative freedom and where he became a teacher at the Art Academy of Tripoli until 1994, when he came to the Netherlands.  Alsaedy’s work is dominated by two themes, love versus pain and the ongoing cycle of growth and decay, a recycling of material when man leaves his characters and traces as a sign of existence through the course of history. Love is represented by beauty in bright and deep colors. The pain from the scars of war and destruction is visualized by the empty cartridge cases from the battlefield or represented by the rusty nails, an important element in many of his works. “The pain has resolved as the nails are completely rusted away”, states Alsaedy. In his three dimensional work, the duality of pain and beauty is always the main theme.  For this occasion Qassim Alsaedy will present his installation of several objects ‘Shortly after the War’. The ceramic objects are created in collaboration with the Dutch/German artist Brigitte Reuter.

Diversity & Art

van http://www.sutuur.com/ar/iraqi-outside/158-qassimalsaedy:

المعرض الجديد للفنان قاسم الساعدي

بعد الحرب بقليل

صياغة جديدة لمعادلة الامل والالم

الثاني والعشرون من نيسان الجاري , وعلى صالة كاليري

“DIVERSITY & ART ”

في امستردام , يفتتح المعرض الشخصي الجديد للفنان قاسم الساعدي , المعنون ب :

بعد الحرب بقليل

حيث سيعرض فيه مختارات من احدث اعماله, تضم لوحات , نحت , اعمال ثلاثية الابعاد, مخطوطة كتاب, وبعض قطع السيراميك التي انجزها الفنان بالتعاون مع الفنانة الالمانية بريجيت رويتر

وسيقدم الفنان اضافة الى ذلك عملا تركيبيا ” انستليشن ” يتكون من اكثر من خمسين قطعة مخلفة الاشكال والحجوم والتقنيات : لوحات صغيرة , منحوتات , سيراميك , كولاج …الخ , وقد استعار الفنان عنوان العمل التركيبي ليكون عنوان للمعرض باسره

ياءتي هذا المعرض , بعد معرضه الشخصي الذي افتتح منتتصف شهر تشرين الثاني نوفمبر , على فضاءات غاليري

” Frank Welkenhuysen ”

بمدينة اوترخت و وكان بعنوان : ” الطريق الى بغداد ” والذي حظي بنجاح واهتمام ملحوظ

يذكر ان على اجندة الفنان الساعدي العديد من المشاريع والمعارض التي ستستضيفها بعض الغاليريات والمتاحف في هولندا وبلجيكا والمملكة المتحدة .

هذا ويتطلع الفنان الى اقامة معرضه الشخصي في وطنه العراق , ويصفه بالحلم الممكن والمستحيل

لمزيد من المعلومات عن المعرض:

http://www.diversityandart.com/

Opening

 

Qassim Alsaedy met Brigitte Reuter (met wie hij samen het keramische werk maakte)

De Iraakse kunstenaars Wiedad Thamer, Salam Djaaz, Aras Kareem en Iman Ali

Qassim Alsaedy voor de camera van de Iraakse journalist Riyad Fartousi (zie filmpje helemaal onderaan dit bericht)

Qassims vrouw Nebal en dochter Urok

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vlnr ikzelf, de Iraaks Koerdische journalist Goran Baba Ali (hoofdredacteur Ex Ponto), de Iraakse schrijver en journalist Riyad Fartousi, Qassim Alsaedy, Nebal Shamky (Qassims vrouw) en Ali Reza (onze Iraanse bovenbuurman)

De Iraaks Koerdische kunstenaar Aras Kareem (zie deze eerdere expositie), bij het werk van Qassim Alsaedy

Neil van der Linden, die de opening verrichtte

vlnr Goran Baba Ali, Herman Divendal (van AIDA), ikzelf, Riyad Fartousi, Qassim Alsaedy, Liesbeth Schreve, Scarlett Hooft Graafland en nog een bezoeker

interview met Qassim Alsaedy en Goran Baba Ali op de opening voor een Arabische zender (http://www.sutuur.com/ar/video)

Interview met Qassim Alsaedy door Entisar Al-Ghareeb

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