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Curating the Iraq Pavilion: Q&A with Philippe Van Cauteren

In November 2014, Philippe Van Cauteren, curator of the Iraq Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale, travelled to Baghdad with RUYA’s chairman Tamara Chalabi. There, they met artists in their studios, and visited the city’s cultural institutions and galleries. As well as mentoring the artists, RUYA hosted a day long symposium on international contemporary art…

RUYA holds symposium in Baghdad on contemporary art.

RUYA hosted a day long symposium on contemporary art in Baghdad last week, open to artists and intellectuals from across the country. Curator Philippe Van Cauteren, who RUYA brought to Baghdad to meet artists and visit the city’s cultural institutions, gave a presentation on the current international state of contemporary art. ‘We took advantage of…

Curating the Pavilion: Philippe Van Cauteren’s trip to Baghdad

Well, here I am in my office in Baghdad making final arrangements for the visit of Belgian curator Philippe van Cauteren in preparation for the Iraq Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia 56. At 18:36, I heard a car bomb about half a mile from my office. This is very common for us in Baghdad,…
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Dystopias and alien invasions: Iraqi writers use science fiction to reimagine their country.

Iraqi playwright and scientist Hassan Abdulrazzak will talk about science fiction in Arabic literature at the Science Museum in London this week. Mr. Abdulrazzak will present his short science fiction story, based on an alien invasion of Baghdad. “I grew up watching alien-invasion films but they always go to America first. So my aliens go…
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Nedim Kufi on Memory, Forgetting and Naivete

Nedim Kufi (b.1962, Baghdad) is an artist, printmaker and graphic designer based in Utrecht, The Netherlands. His work is often based on old and collected photographs and deals with the themes of loss, memory and exile. He speaks to RUYA about his influences and upcoming projects, and his mixed feelings towards the past in his…
Dia Azzawi.Folkloric Mythology 1966. Courtesy of Meem Gallery.

Frieze Masters: Dia al Azzawi, Selected works, 1964-73

At the Frieze Masters art fair in London last week, Dubai’s Meem Gallery launched a new publication of works by the Iraqi artist Dia al Azzawi, alongside an exhibition of his work at the fair. The selection of early works featured in the catalogue, from 1964-73, when the artist was still based in Iraq, reflects…
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Baghdad City of Peace Carnival – World Peace Day

To celebrate the UN’s World Peace Day, the non-governmental organisation IQ Peace hosted the Baghdad City of Peace Festival on 21 September. The term Madinat al Salam, or “City of Peace” may seem unusual for Baghdad, but this was the city’s name in the Abbasid times. This year, the annual event was bigger than ever,…
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