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Author Topic: Iraq: art under fire
Babbler # 2534

posted 22 November 2004 11:19 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
After a dictator who sought to control and harness all cultural production to glorify his regime, sanctions, the horrors of war, the threat from religious fundamentalists. And yet there are artists who struggle to create...

"Under Saddam, Iraqi artists were forced to produce works that glorified the leader and put him at the centre of everything. Now they are less constrained - and the subject they most want to depict is the violence all around them",11710,1356522,00.html

From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 1885

posted 22 November 2004 01:39 PM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

One of the artists who has to improvise new ways is Ahmad al-Safi, a young, wannabe-bohemian artist who lives in a messy two-room studio in central Baghdad, surrounded by piles of sculptures, paintings, beer cans and dirty sheets. When official art lost its glamour because of the sanctions, a new class of chickens with golden eggs appeared: foreign workers from the UN and NGOs, and journalists. All wanted to go back home with a couple of Iraqi paintings and a carpet, the trophies of having been to Baghdad under sanctions. With half a dozen galleries opening next to the UN compound, it felt as though a renaissance had swept through the art market.

"Before the war the situation was very difficult, with lots of artists producing and very few UN staff buying; we couldn't get good prices," says Safi. "After the war the art market went into a very good period, there were lots of journalists and NGO workers, all with lots of money. But now everything has collapsed - after the terrorist attacks everyone left, and we can't go to galleries any more because we fear attacks from religious extremists, and lots of my friends, writers and so on, are being intimidated by people like the Mahdi army."

From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 478

posted 23 November 2004 05:51 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This article also ran in the review section of today's G&M, along with a larger, clearer photo of that stunning sculpture by Karim Khalil.

What a hellish situation those artists are in (and I'd bet the writers worst of all). Years of Saddam fear behind them; forbidden, we learn, to satirize the American occupiers; and looking forward to persecution, perhaps, by vengeful members of al Sadr's army, already fearful of them ...

And yet some of what they are producing looks and/or sounds great.

They can't go on; they'll go on.

From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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