Rijin Sahakian, “Twenty Years After the Invasion of Iraq: Sada in Context”

Rijin Sahakian, “Twenty Years After the Invasion of Iraq: Sada in Context”

Sajjad Abbas, Ali Eyal, Sarah Munaf, Rijin Sahakian, Bassim Al Shaker, Sada [regroup] (still), 2022.

Rijin Sahakian, “Twenty Years After the Invasion of Iraq: Sada in Context”
Film screening and discussion

Admission starts at $5

June 8, 2023, 7pm
172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Join us at e-flux Screening Room on Thursday, June 8 at 7pm for “Twenty Years After the Invasion of Iraq: Sada in Context,” an evening with Rijin Sahakian. Guest-curated by Ali Hussein Al-Adawy, the evening will feature a screening of Sada [regroup] (2022), and a discussion with Sahakian and Dina Ramadan.

The program is co-presented with ArteEast, and is part of the legacy program Unpacking the ArteArchive, which preserves and presents twenty years of film and video programming by the organization. It will be accompanied by an online screening on artearchive.org through June 9-18, 2023, featuring Sada [regroup] as well as a selection of documentary works created by students of the Baghdad-based Independent Film & Television College co-founded in 2004 by Maysoon Pachachi and Kasim Abid. For more information on the online screening go to artearchive.org.

Sajjad Abbas, Ali Eyal, Sarah Munaf, Rijin Sahakian, Bassim Al Shaker​
Sada [regroup]

2022, 54 minutes
In Arabic with English subtitles, and English with Arabic subtitles
Commissioned by documenta fifteen

From 2011-2015, Sada, an online and in person ad hoc art school, was set up in Baghdad to support artists working through the aftermath of US-led invasion and occupation. Nearly a decade later, former artists of Sada came together again, reflecting on their creative and disparate lives since that time. Artists Sajjad Abbas, Bassim Al Shaker, Ali Eyal, Sarah Munaf, and Rijin Sahakian each created video works, comprising one experimental, interconnected anthology film on individual and collective art practice in a protracted era of international warfare.

Using street footage, narrative, and documentary, Sajjad Abbas’s Water of Life tracks its filmmakers’ urge to forge protest that is bigger than himself, following monumental artwork, migration, and the return to place and protest. In Ali Eyal’s The Blue Ink Pocket, a mysterious letter from an artist is authored to communicate the futility of describing violence in full, its scattering of meaning, and the power it derives through its lesser understood perpetrators and permutations. In Journey Inside a City, shot in Iraq, Turkey, and Ukraine, Sarah Munaf layers her experience as a sculptor and as part of a threatened community of artists and residents in Baghdad, and, later, as a refugee finding her way in coastal Turkey as her parents navigate life in Ukraine. In Barbershop, stop-motion animation, cutout drawings, and first-person storytelling give shape to the artist Bassim Al Shaker’s memory of his own kidnapping and its impact on his personal and creative life in the years that followed. Taking moments from popular and political culture during the 1991 Iraq war and the second invasion of Iraq, Rijin Sahakian’s Anthem argues against the use of multinational warfare in its varying methodologies— from technology to the arts—to extinguish life.

For more information, contact program@e-flux.com.

–Two flights of stairs lead up to the building’s front entrance at 172 Classon Avenue.
–For elevator access, please RSVP to program@e-flux.com. The building has a freight elevator which leads into the e-flux office space. Entrance to the elevator is nearest to 180 Classon Ave (a garage door). We have a ramp for the steps within the space.         
–e-flux has an ADA-compliant bathroom. There are no steps between the Screening Room and this bathroom.

Film, War & Conflict, Education, Contemporary Art
Documentary, Middle East

Sajjad Abbas graduated from Baghdad’s Institute of Fine Arts in 2014. Since 2011, Abbas has created many graffiti works in Baghdad and has worked on almost ten films in the art department at the Iraqi Independent Film Center, where he was also a student.

Ali Eyal was born in The Forest, Small Abandoned Farm. He lives and works in no home yet. After earning a diploma from the Institute of Fine Arts, Baghdad, he studied at the Home Workspace Program from 2016 to 2017, an independent study program launched by Ashkal Alwan in Beirut, Lebanon.

Sarah Munaf graduated from the Baghdad College of Fine Arts in 2011, with a focus on sculpture and painting. She completed an MA in sculpture in 2013. She lives and works in Turkey.

Rijin Sahakian uses writing, teaching, and art-making to examine the relationship between the coalition wars in Iraq and contemporary art and culture. She founded Sada, an arts education initiative for Baghdad-based students, operating from 2010 to 2015.

Bassim Al Shaker is an Iraqi artist based in the United States. He received a BFA from the Baghdad College of Fine Arts, with a focus on drawing and painting, and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Dina Ramadan is Continuing Associate Professor of Human Rights and Middle Eastern Studies at Bard College and Faculty at the Center for Curatorial Studies.

Ali Hussein Al-Adawy is a curator, researcher, editor, writer, and critic of moving images, urban artistic practices, and cultural history. He curated a number of film programs and seminars such as Labor Images (ongoing since 2019), Serge Daney: A Homage and Retrospective (2017) and Harun Farocki: Dialectics of Images…Images That Cover/Uncover Other Images (2018); and exhibitions and public programs such as, together with Paul Cata, the exhibition The Art of Getting Lost in Cities: Barcelona and Alexandria (2017) and the seminar “Benjamin and the City” (2015). He was one of the founders of Tripod, an online magazine for film and moving-image critique (2015-2017) and was part of the editorial team of TarAlbahr, an online platform and a publication for urban and art practices in Alexandria (2015-2018).

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