The Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project and Intermedia Arts presented
NOT ABOUT BOMBS
A collection of contemporary works by eminent female Iraqi artists explores an identity in flux.
Curated by Tricia Khutoretsky
Exhibition Run: January 31, 2012 – March 3, 2012
Opening Reception: 7-9PM Friday, February 3, 2012 at Intermedia Arts
Panel Discussion: 7-9PM Friday, March 2, 2012 at Intermedia Arts
Discussion included Dena Al-Adeeb, Sundus Abdul Hadi and Tamara Abdul Hadi. Curator Tricia Khutoretsky moderated a discussion with the three artists as well as open the floor for an audience Q&A.
This exhibit was not what you expect. It was not about war. It was not about Iraq. It presented contemporary art by Iraqi women, but mainly in an attempt to deliberately explore and challenge expectations. Given the Western obsession with gender issues in Middle Eastern societies, it is no surprise that women have taken center stage in the rhetoric of Western media. This has been fueled even more by the role women are playing in the tumultuous Arab Spring uprisings.
Unfortunately, not much has shifted in the controlled and contrived representation of Iraqi women by Western media. Factor in a contemporary art world that is generally male-dominated and often ignorant of the Middle East, and the cards are stacked against this lesser known perspective. This exhibit addresses how a female perspective can fit into the modern context of turmoil and conflict through art and avoid falling into the typical ways that women are represented and… misrepresented.
Here is a start. Let women tell their story in whichever form they desire. Specifically, tell it through art that speaks an unconventional language, and art that speaks to the cutting-edge nature of contemporary art. Shared here is a platform for a generation of female artists who are undeniably influenced by the aesthetics of conflict and the stereotypes that define them, but not in the least bit limited by them. The 6 women in this exhibit contribute art that is visually and conceptually accomplished, but unpredictable and emotionally engaging. Because if anything, as a long, drawn-out, mind-numbing war comes to a “close,” emotional investments in Iraq are few and far between.
Images from Still/Chaos- Baghdadi Mem/Wars by Dena Al-Adeeb and Sama Alshaibi
ABOUT THE IRAQI AND AMERICAN RECONCILIATION PROJECT (IARP)
The Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project (IARP) supports reconciliation between Iraqis and Americans through art, education, health and cultural exchange programs. Through art exhibits and events, IARP provides opportunities for Iraqis and Americans to engage in artistic expression and dialogue around war and its consequences. Partnering with the Muslim Peacemaker Teams (MPT) in Iraq, IARP also provides opportunities for Americans to directly support the basic needs of Iraqis through water, sanitation, and healthcare projects, and facilitates the sharing of expertise among Iraqi and American professionals to help rebuild a country devastated by war.
This activity is funded, in part, by appropriations from the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the State’s general fund, and its arts and cultural heritage fund that was created by a vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008. This exhibition is a part of Intermedia Arts’ Catalyst Series.