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Art, War and Peace: Responses to the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq

Artist Name


How have artists and institutions in the UK and beyond responded to the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq? How we might think about the entanglement of art, war and peace in light of these responses?

This one-day event will bring together artists and writers with ties to Iraq to reflect on these issues a decade on from the invasion. Reflecting a range of perspectives and practices, talks and discussions will explore the different ways in which the war has been experienced and the diverse forms of creativity through which artists have responded.

Art, War and Peace: Responses to the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq is organised by Dr Alan Ingram (UCL) and Yousif Naser (The Ark Artist Space). The event draws on research conducted by Alan Ingram at UCL Department of Geography and funded by the British Academy and is supported by UCL’s Public Engagement programme. The event also forms part of Reel Iraq 2013, a celebration of the arts and culture of Iraq. http://responsestoiraq.wordpress.com

The event will feature talks and discussions with Rashad Selim, Hanaa’ Malallah, Satta Hashem, Yousif Naser, Nadje Al-Ali and others.

Speakers and timetable

10.30 tea and coffee

11.00 Introduction Alan Ingram and Yousif Naser

11.30 Rashad Selim Separation, Outflow and Attitudes of Return

Rashad Selim is an artist and printmaker, painter, sculptor, curator, illustrator, essayist, cultural researcher, grassroots development worker and project animator. Over the course of the last decade his work has often been concerned with the causes and effects of the war and with developing new resources and approaches to overcome limitations set in the present landscape. In this talk he will consider the continual outflow of art and artists from Iraq, the problems of confronting violence and abuse in art and challenges in re-engaging with what is happening in Iraq today.

12.15 Satta Hashem In Conflict: Reflections on the Constant War in Iraq

Satta Hashem creates drawings, paintings and prints which comprise graphic, symbolic, figurative and abstract styles. Trained in the Soviet Union and Sweden, his work deals with his own experience in relation to Iraq’s history of political violence and the legacies of Mesopotamian cultures and aims to communicate the sympathy he feels for those that find themselves constantly in the middle of the conflict in Iraq. In this talk he will discuss the development of his practice in relation to his concerns with colour theory, symbolism and the relationship between art work and political violence.

13.00 Lunch

14.00 Nadje Al-Ali We Are Iraqis: Aesthetics and Politics in a Time of War

Nadje Al-Ali is Professor of Gender Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, where she conducts research on topics including women’s movements and feminism in the Middle East, transnationalism and diaspora, and violence and war and peace, with particular reference to Iraq.  Her talk will focus particularly on a recent book co-edited with Deborah al-Najjar (We Are Iraqis: Aesthetics and Politics in a Time of War New York: Syracuse University Press 2013). The book showcases written and visual contributions by Iraqi artists, writers, poets, filmmakers, photographers, and activists, exploring the way Iraqis retain, subvert, and produce art and activism as ways of coping with despair and resisting chaos and destruction.

15:00 Hana Malallah: Professor of Art in Baghdad 2006, Refugee in London 2007

Hanaa Mallalah studied Fine Art in Baghdad with an emphasis on graphics and painting.  In 2005 her thesis concerning the logic order in Mesopotamian drawing gained her a PhD in the Philosophy of Painting. She has taught and lectured widely at a several faculties of the University of Fine Arts in Baghdad. Having lived through thirty five years of war, she was forced to leave Iraq in 2006 as academics and artists fell increasingly under threat of sectarian violence. Since 2007 her work has addressed the destruction of Iraq under occupation and her own experience of violence and exile, particularly through the idea of ruin. In this talk she will discuss the evolution of her practice in relation to experiences of violence, loss and survival.

15.45 Tea and coffee

16:00 Film SADA Summer Intensive 2012

Sada (sadairaq.org), is a non-profit project supporting new and emerging arts practices through education initiatives in Iraq and public programs internationally. This short film is a record of the 2012 SADA Summer Intensive programme, which brought together artists and participants working in Baghdad with teaching artists and professors for a week of workshops in Northern Iraq. In documenting the Intensive, the film sheds light on the situation faced by young artists living and working in Baghdad today.

FREE, rsvp@mosaicrooms.org

© Image: Hanaa’ Malallah, My Country Map, 2008. The Park Gallery.


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