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Art in Iraq Todayby Charles Pocock
Synopses & Reviews
As an outgrowth of Meem Gallery’s Art in Iraq Today exhibition series (2010-2011), curated by Dia Al-Azzawi and Charles Pocock, this publication brings together a group of Iraqi artists with varying working methodologies, whom are united in their experience of exile. Having spent their formative years as artists in Iraq, this book documents their continuing contribution to Iraqi art, and highlights its importance in contemporary Middle Eastern art history. The publication is dedicated to the memory of pre-eminent art critic Jabra Ibrahim Jabra and his seminal essays titled ‘Art in Iraq To-day.’ Although the artists examined here are now part of the Iraqi diaspora, their work demonstrates the enduring talent of two generations of artists whose work represents Iraqi art today.
The artists include Modhir Ahmed, Himat M. Ali, Dia Al-Azzawi, Ahmed Al-Bahrani, Amar Dawod, Ghassan Ghaib, Ali Jabbar, Halim Al-Karim, Nedim Kufi, Hanaa Malallah, Rafa Al-Nasiri, Mahmoud Obaidi, Kareem Risan, Delair Shaker, Ali Talib and Nazar Yahya.
Essays by Dia Al-Azzawi, Charles Pocock, May Muzaffar, Farouq Yousif, Nada Shabout, Samar Faruqi, Georges H. Rabbath.
A book that highlights the enduring talent of a group of contemporary Iraqi artists who are united in their experience of exile. Modern Iraqi art represents one of the main foundation stones of modern Arab culture. As with Iran, modern and contemporary culture in Iraq draws heavily on its rich pre-Islamic and Islamic heritage, from the Sumerian, Babylonian, and Assyrian civilizations through to Ottoman Baghdad, the Iraq of the Baath Party, and today a country that has been ravaged by foreign invasion. In the 1970s, Baghdad was at the center of a pan-Arab art movement. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, it became clear that the art movement was becoming a political tool of propaganda for the Baath Party. Forced to work within the parameters set by the government, a number of leading artists decided to leave Iraq for Europe and North America. Today, a new generation of Iraqi artists is receiving much-deserved international acclaim. Their art draws increasing attention from international seasoned collectors and is at the forefront of modern and contemporary Arab art.
About the Author
Dia Al-Azzawi, an Iraqi-born painter, is an outstanding and world-class artist, art consultant, and author. Charles Pocock is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society and founder of Al Noor Institute of Middle Eastern Art. Samar Faruqi, Education and Exhibitions Manager of Meem Gallery, has a B.A. Honors in History of Art from Goldsmiths College, London, and an M.Phil. in History of Art from the University of Cambridge.
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