IRAQ: REFRAME–an unprecedented Silicon Valley initiative

IRAQ: REFRAME–an unprecedented Silicon Valley initiative

Montalvo Arts Center

Abidin Travels, installed at Triple Base Gallery in San Francisco’s Mission District, runs through January 5. Photo: Jakub Mosur

November 27, 2007

Through April 2008

15400 Montalvo Road
Saratoga, California 95070

Montalvo Arts Center presents IRAQ: REFRAME, a new series of visual and performing arts and public conversations. At a time when Iraq is primarily seen or thought of as a place of war and destruction, Montalvo taps the creative community to reframe perceptions of the country and its culture, in a global and
historical context.

The eradication of art and culture in Iraq began decades ago under the weight of the Iran-Iraq War, dictatorship and sanctions. Attacks on artistic and intellectual institutions, both modern and ancient, have severed ties to resources, history and civil society, resulting in a cultural vacuum. To this end, IRAQ: REFRAME includes a wide-range of artists, academics and journalists who are filtering the Iraq conflict through their own unique, personal experiences, offering people a variety of viewpoints.

“Montalvo’s quest is to engage people in the questions of our time through contemporary art and culture,” says Robert Sain, Montalvo’s executive director. “Artists can help us better understand the realities of Iraq–the Mesopotamian cradle of civilization. We hope that IRAQ: REFRAME can reframe the conversation and stimulate constructive dialogue.”

IRAQ: REFRAME is curated by Rijin Sahakian.

Visual Arts Highlights

A mock travel agency promoting trips to Baghdad, Abidin Travels uses humor and irony to communicate the realities of life in Iraq. Visitors make online reservations and print plane tickets while a bitterly sarcastic promotional video blends a cheerful, American-accented female voice with disturbing video footage. Abidin was born in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1973 and now lives and works in Helsinki. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in both Baghdad and Helsinki.

Organized by Montalvo and presented at Triple Base Gallery
3041 24th Street, San Francisco
Through January 5, 2008; Gallery Hours: Thu-Sun 12-5pm

A temporary mud-brick house erected by Iraqi artist Wafaa Bilal on Montalvo’s front lawn, the interior portrays a domestic living space while outside is sited a vintage Volvo reconstituted as an Iraqi taxi. This installation speaks to the devastation of the civil and domestic infrastructure taking place in Iraq, creating an environment that has forced its inhabitants to return to an almost pre-modern existence of failed construction, electricity and lack of safety. Bilal is known for provocative interactive video installations, many of which address the dichotomy of the virtual verses the real. He serves on the faculty of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Montalvo Arts Center, Front Lawn
Through March 2008; Hours: Mon-Thu 8am-5pm; Fri-Sun 9am-5pm

Open Shutters features photographic stories created by a diverse group of Iraqi women with no previous photography training. This participatory program created a visually affecting exhibition that reflects the realities facing many civilians living in Iraq today. The project was created by UK-based photojournalist Eugenie Dolberg.

Organized by Montalvo and presented at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art; Through
January 2, 2008

560 South First Street San Jose; Gallery Hours: Tue-Wed-Fri 10am-5pm; Thu 10am-8pm; Sat noon-5pm

See pivotal moments from Iraq’s modern art history: this two part show features work from a private collection never before exhibited in the US, including painting, sculpture, ceramics and prints. Part I focuses on the Pioneers’ movement of the 1940s and 50s; Part II on the artists that formed the 60s generation. Curated by Nada Shabout, assistant professor of Art History at the University of North Texas.

Montalvo Project Space
Part I: Through December 22
Part II: January 20 – April 6, 2008
Project Space Hours: Thu-Sun 11 am-3 pm

For more information on IRAQ: REFRAME, visit

IRAQ: REFRAME is presented in partnership with CCA’s Graduate Fine Art Program and is made possible by Montalvo members and volunteers. Funding is provided by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

RSVP for IRAQ: REFRAME–an unprecedented Silicon Valley initiative
Montalvo Arts Center
November 27, 2007

Thank you for your RSVP.

Montalvo Arts Center 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.