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Kurdish art that survived ISIS and Saddam on display in UK

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Kurdish art that survived ISIS and Saddam on display in UK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:31 am

Art that survived ISIS and
Saddam on display in London


Emotionally powerful exhibition of Iraqi Kurdish artists will include paintings peppered by bullets

Kurdish artworks that survived Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical weapons as well as Islamic State’s cultural vandalism will go on display at a London gallery this week.

Iraqi Kurdish artists have made paintings and art installations from artefacts including Assyrian reliefs from 700 BC peppered by ISIS bullet holes and the farewell “death” notes of a charity worker smuggling aid to ISIS-controlled Mosul.

The exhibition is part of a series of events marking the 10th anniversary of Gulan, a UK-registered charity promoting Kurdish culture.

Hemn Hamid is one of the Iraqi Kurdish artists whose work will be on display at the P21 Gallery in King’s Cross for the Road through Kurdistan exhibition. He risked his life for almost four years by not only smuggling medicines and food into Mosul but also chronicling life under Isis’s oppressive rule through his art.

Before setting out every morning, the aid worker and artist would pen a farewell note to his wife and children in case he was killed by ISIS fighters.

Richard Wilding, who curated the exhibition along with the Kurdish artist Mariwan Jalal, described Hamid’s installation as “a remarkable artistic portrayal of saying goodbye to your loved ones every single day”. L-)

Wilding continued: “In the notes he says that, ‘If I don’t come back, if you never see me again, I want you to know that I love you and how much I think of you.’ This is extremely powerful stuff and all of it will be accompanied by full translations.

“He displayed the same humanity with the boys he met who were carving toy guns out of woodbecause that is what they were seeing every day on their streets when the Isis fighters appeared”

Photographs of ancient books rescued by Father Najeeb Michaeel , will also be shown.

An hour and a half before Isis militants arrived to attack a Christian town outside Mosul, Michaeel packed his car with the books and transported them to the safety of the Iraqi Kurdish region.

When Isis later arrived at the Christian redoubt they burned down the church and charcoal from its charred remains was later used by the London artist Piers Secunda to draw pictures of Assyrian reliefs that were vandalised when Isis controlled the era from 2014.

Among the 18 artists represented at the exhibition, which begins on Wednesday, is Rebwar Saed, a former Kurdish Peshmerga fighter turned international artist.

Saed’s writings and drawings meticulously record the aftermath of the horrors of chemical warfare during Saddam Hussein’s Anfal genocide in which tens of thousands of Kurds were killed.

In one diary entry, Saed details chemical weapons being dropped from the sky: “We could hear screaming. The bunker, which was half-ruined, started shaking. Everyone wanted to take shelter inside. I started smelling chemical gas and everyone started to run outside. I put on my mask that I carried with me and started to run towards the higher hills. I didn’t stop until I got to the top.”

Road through Kurdistan at P21 Galley on Chalton Street, London runs until 26 October 2019.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesig ... eAOgC-k3AY
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Kurdish art that survived ISIS and Saddam on display in UK

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