Cornerhouse presents Contemporary Art Iraq

Cornerhouse presents Contemporary Art Iraq


April 16, 2010

Contemporary Art Iraq
16 April – 20 June 2010

70 Oxford Street
Manchester M1 5NH
+44(0)161 200 1500
press [​at​]

Timed to follow the Iraqi parliamentary election, Cornerhouse is pleased to announce the first comprehensive UK exhibition of new and recent contemporary art from Iraq since the first Gulf War, examining practices that are emerging with fresh perspectives from a culture marked by conflict and turmoil. Given the country’s recent historical context and the emphasis of media news stories on political instability, this show explores and challenges expectations of Iraq today.

Now as global attention shifts, this show provides a platform for a new generation of artists who acknowledge the aesthetics of conflict, but are not bound by them. Instead, they are fused with collapsing aforementioned associations and seek to broaden awareness of life beyond the brink of war, pointing toward other immediate concerns across the country.

Selecting works across a wide range of media by 19 Iraqi-based artists for Contemporary Art Iraq, Cornerhouse in collaboration with ArtRole, gives a subjective snapshot of the current art scene in Iraq. From installation, performance, video, painting and photography, works presented deal with very individual searches for identity, whether national or historical, addressing tradition, beliefs and other themes connected to modern life in Iraq.

The exhibition also overlaps three main themes:

The Changing City
Azar Othman Mahmoud’s installation Bricks, is a reflection on the Iraqi nation building project. Whilst Salam Idwer Yaqoob Al-Loos’ painted triptych of Baghdad, charts the hope and disillusionment post 2003. Jamal Penjweny’s series of photographs Iraq is Flying, playfully reminds us of the childlike wonder of being able to see from a height.

Of Time and Tradition
Bhrhm Taib H. Ameen’s
luscious photographs depict traditional characters of Iraq, theatricality staged in contrast to reality. Mustafa Mumtaz Noori’s Joza and Rbaba, sees musical instruments converted into weapons and Sawar Mohamad Amin’s documentary Yayli, follows the loss of livelihood for local men driving horse-drawn carts.

Muhammad Sale Rosramzada and Wrya Budaghi
are internally displaced and therefore denied the right to vote in performance and video piece, Our Finger Hasn’t Got Ink Yet. For Traffic, another performance to video work, Gaylan Abdulla Ismahel brings a crowd to a roundabout in Erbil to protest against the high number of traffic accidents there. Julie Adnan’s powerful portrait series, Born in Jail, presents photographs of women who live with their children in prison.

Works by
Julie Adnan
(Kirkuk), Aryan Abubakr Ali (Sulaymaniyah), Salam Idwer Yaqoob Al-loos (Baghdad), Bhrhm Taib H. Ameen (Sulaymaniyah), Sarwar Mohamad Amin (Sulaymaniyah), Bitwen Ali Hamad (Sulaymaniyah), Gailan Abdulha Ismail (Erbil), Azar Othman Mahmud (Sulaymaniyah), Zana Rasul Mohammed (Sulaymaniyah), Natheer Muslim (Baghdad), Rohzgar Mahmood Mustafa (Sulaymaniyah), Yadgar Abubakir Nassradin (Sulaymaniyah), Mustafa Mumtaz Noori (Baghdad), Jamal Penjweny (Sulaymaniyah), Roshna Rasool (Sulaymaniyah), Mohammad Sale & Wrya Budaghi (Erbil), Hemn Hamed Sharef (Erbil), Mohammed Abdulhussein Yousif (Baghdad).

Co-curated by Cornerhouse and ArtRole.

Exhibition supported by British Institute for the Study of Iraq (BISI), Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World (CASAW) and City Inn, Manchester.

Related Event

Sat 17 April, 11:00 – 17:00
Future Now: Iraq and Contemporary Art
Contemporary Art Iraq launches at Cornerhouse with this one-day symposium that explores the various thematic strands that emerge from the exhibition. Divided into three panels delivered by a host of leading international researchers, artists, curators and writers; whose discussions will extend upon concepts from nationalism and nationhood, current art education and the recent surge in art activity in Iraqi Kurdistan, to the impact of international initiatives and the future of contemporary art in the Middle East and Iraq.

Speakers include: Nat Muller (Rotterdam-based independent curator and critic), Dr Rebwar Fatah (Kurdish writer and journalist), Hadani Ditmars (Co-editor New Internationalist), Daniel Miller (Art critic and journalist for Frieze and other journals), Anna Bowman (ArtRole), Aaron Cezar (Delfina Foundation) and chair Peter Jenkinson (Cultural broker and former National Director of the Arts Council’s Creative Partnerships Programme)

Gallery Opening Times:
Mon: Closed, Tue – Sat: 12.00 – 20.00, Sun: 12.00 – 18.00

70 Oxford Street
Manchester M1 5NH

press [​at​]
+44(0)161 200 1500

Image above:
Jamal Penjweny
Iraq is Flying, 2006-2009

RSVP for Cornerhouse presents Contemporary Art Iraq
April 16, 2010

Thank you for your RSVP.

Cornerhouse will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.