Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Something different


Something different

Hana Mal Allah . Warka Temple Wall I . Mixed media . 80x80cm . 2006

I don’t really believe in fate, but when Little penguin mentioned an art gallery in London showcasing Iraqi artists work I visited, enjoyed and bookmarked the site of the Aya Gallery.

Then out of the blue a relative who has recently taken up painting sent me an email about an art exhibition in London, at the same gallery, and when another relative herself an amateur painter asked about the exhibition, I decided to see for myself.

Like many of my gender I have a brain deficiency in the compass region, and despite a map we got lost and arrived 30 minutes late, the gallery was packed, and the presentation had already started, the spectators crowding around the staircase with the red zone piece in the centre of my field of vision.

The exhibition was a joint presentation of two Iraqi artists sharing the theme of Baghdad as a centre of civilisation and a city systematically and repeatedly destroyed, the two artists having distinct expressive techniques Hana Mal Allah’s mixed media pieces are large, stark visions of destruction with a predominance of red and burnt out black, flags death announcement banners and books.

Rashad Selim’s works portrayed the systematic destruction of infrastructure by pictorially exhibiting each of the many ministries of government using remnants found by the artist when he visited Baghdad in 2003, torn carpets, wooden fragments, and disfigured maps, the city’s pavements and ministries composed of layers of old calligraphy, maps, covered over with burnt artefacts and American military text.

Many of the pieces were powerful reminders of the complexity of Baghdad’ history, but for me the lasting image was a piece not mentioned in the introduction, or indeed in any of the visual adverts for the exhibition.

Hanging from the wall to one side, behind the staircase, on a silent wall, was a plain piece of wood, framed by curled dark green slivers, I initially did not recognise this piece titled the ministry of education until I looked closer, and realised it had one day been a blackboard. Sometimes simplicity is most effective.

Sophisticated Ways Destruction of an Ancient City
Exhibition continues untill the 6th September

Little Penguin said...
I was gonna go to it.. but domestic unrest ruined my plans.. I had been waiting for it for such a long time, bookmarked the date and saved up travel money and all!

I'm definitely gonna pay it a visit once I'm done with this family havoc and exams..

The eroding blackboard must've been a poignant dip into your memory..

07 June 2007 18:22

3eeraqimedic said...
Little Penguin
I had sort of expected to "bump" into you there.
It is probably better to go when there are fewer people and you can stop and take in the details of the pieces specially my other two favourites the 7b3 3yoon.
There was something very very symbolic about the blackboard it even had some scribbles on the curled up coating, strange how some things really affect us.
Hope the havoc doesn't last too long.
And many thanks for starting the interest.
07 June 2007 19:31

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