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la Biennale di Venezia
Visual Top Art EN (new)



Pavilion of Iraq
Iraq's experimental contemporary artists have never had a chance to present their work for an Iraq Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia; 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

Title of the exhibition: Wounded Water. Six Iraqi Artists interpret the theme of water
Commissioner: Ali Assaf
Co-Commissioner: Vittorio Urbani
Curator: Mary Angela Schroth
Organization: Nouva Icona and Sala 1. Media Partner: Canvas Magazine
In collaboration with: Embassy of Iraq in Italy, Iraq UN Representation in Rome, Iraq Ministry of Culture, Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, MerchantBridge Bank and the Iraq Pavilion Patrons Committee.
Venue: Gervasuti Foundation, Fondamenta S. Anna (Via Garibaldi), Castello 995, between Giardini and Arsenale
Opening to the Public: June 4, 2011. Closes Nov. 27, 2011, 10 am - 6 pm daily except Mondays
Press Preview: June 2, 2011 from 7 to 9 pm
These are extraordinary times for Iraq. The project to create an official country Pavilion for the 54th International Art Exhibition – la 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 at the Fine Arts Academy 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 spaces 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 special video section will feature artists living and working in Iraq today, curated by Rijin Sahakian.
The Pavilion of Iraq has been produced thanks to Shwan I. Taha and Reem Shather-Kubba/Patrons Committee, MerchantBridge Bank, corporate and individual contributors, various Iraqi government agencies and a major grant from the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture. Honorary Patron is the architect Zaha Hadid.
For info:
Tel. +39 067008691 Fax +39 3392397762 (Sala 1) Tel. +39 335320548 (Nuova Icona)
The artists selected for the main exhibition, VIVA ARTE VIVA
National Participations
Countries exhibited in their own pavilions at the 57th Intl. Art Exhibition
Collateral Events
Additional exhibitions and initiatives in Venice during the 57th Biennale