In 2011, Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi (Arabic: سلطان سعود القاسمي) was lauded for his Twitter stream where he provided English translations of news and events of Arab Spring. A year earlier, the cultural commentator started the Barjeel Art Foundation, serving as a patron and promoter for artists from all over the Arab world: Syrian, Iraqi, Kuwaiti, Egyptian, Jordanian, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon. "I don't buy artworks that I think are pretty and aesthetically appealing," he says. "But I buy art that is politically meaningful." Arab Art Redefined: How art collector Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi is trying to change the narrative (2 minute slideshow with narration by Sultan Al-Qassemi on how he collects and shares art).
Throughout time immemorial, songs of patriotism, such as Darryl Worley's "Have You Forgotten?" are a staple of countries at war. Our ballads root for our soldiers to come back safe and sound to families and sweethearts, but who sings the tale about the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, the autonomous drone that pines for the vending machine it left at home? Only the evil ghost of Johnny Cash does. [more inside]
The maqam al-'iraqi is considered the most noble and perfect form of the maqam. As the name implies, it is native to Iraq; it has been known for approximately four hundred years in Baghdad, Mosul, and Kirkuk. The maqam al-'iraqi has been passed on orally through the Iraqi masters of the maqam, who cultivate the form especially in Baghdad. The maqam is performed by a singer (qari') and three instrumentalists playing santur (box zither), juzah (spike fiddle), and tablah or dunbak (goblet drum).
I am an artist who by a stroke of good fortune met a brave American lawyer who represents several hundred Iraqi detainees in the US federal courts....the Iraqis I interviewed, released by the American military after many months or years of detention, were never formally accused of a crime, brought to a trial or given legal representation. Daniel Heyman paints and draws while sitting in on interviews between former Abu Ghraib detainees and their lawyer Susan Burke. Interview (including Heyman's thoughts about Errol Morris' documentary Standard Operating Procedure). Review. Another gallery. Related: The Detainee Project. Via zunguzungu. [more inside]
Cartoonist Tim Kreider (previously, previously) of The Pain talks about the last decade, our "disastrous decline" and his latest book of cartoons and essays, Twilight Of The Assholes. Part 1 - 2 - 3 - 4
The Modern Art Iraq Archive (MAIA) is a resource to trace, share, and enable community enrichment of the modern art heritage of Iraq. Explore the works by artist, browse through related textual materials, or add your own images or stories to the archive.
Suzanne Opton's haunting soldier portraits, appearing on a billboard near you. (courtesy of Design Observer) [more inside]
“It’s amazing how many people are shooting. This is probably the heaviest shooting we’ve witnessed, and although it’s Memorial Day, you can’t just blame it on the United States. France, Denmark, Ireland, UK, Canada, so it’s not one place – almost global shooting.” [previously]
"My name is Captain Doug MacNair, I coordinate the media embedding program from a desk here in Ottawa... I have embedded more than 250 journalists in our program, and no embed has given me more personal satisfaction than yours... Thanks for being handy with a pencil and a piece of paper. Thanks for writing so well about the things that are hard to draw. Thanks for leaving your family to do an important job. I know how that feels and it’s never easy. Most of all Richard, thanks for risking your life while you do all those things." Q&A with Richard Johnson. Via.
Mark Wallinger has won the Turner Prize for 'State Britain' his recreation of Brian Haw's Parliament Square peace protest. [more inside]
“Iraq War Memorial: Death of Prince Harry" features the in fact hale and hearty royal scion "laid out before the Union Jack with pennies placed over his eyes and head rested on the Bible...Prone with his unfired gun still holstered, Prince Harry is represented clutching a bloodied flag of Wales, and holding to his heart a cameo locket of his late mother, Princess Diana, while a desert vulture perches on his boot...a bronze casting of Prince Harry’s 'severed ears' also set for display at the Trafalgar Hotel will be offered on eBay." Via.
Famed Arabic calligrapher Khalil al-Zahawi murdered. (Arabic: خليل الزهاوي; 1946 - 25 May 2007) Khalil al-Zahawi was the most famous practitioner in Iraq of the art of writing classical Arabic script. He was shot to death Friday as he left his home.
Shoot an Iraqi live on the web. [With a paintball gun] Iraqi artist Wafaa Bilal, whose brother was killed in by an American soldier in 2005, makes a statement about virtual war in Chicago's Flatfile gallery. For the next 42 days, anyone can log in and chat with him. Or shoot him with a remote-controlled paintball gun. You can listen to him narrate a summary of the piece (and show the gun-firing robot) in this slideshow from the Chicago Tribune. If you can't log in, you can watch his video diaries here.
Born to War is a series of paintings of American women killed in Iraq. The combination of the increasing role of women in the American military and the blurring of lines between combat and non-combat roles in Iraq have made this the first war in which female US soldiers have died in direct combat. The focus on a smaller number of women provides a more approachable view of casualties than more general sites like Iraq Body Count and raises some interesting questions about the role of women in the US military.
In Memoriam and in Protest --why not use an online deathmatch as a pedestal for speaking out against a war? Artist/Professor uses US Govt-developed America's Army (...placing Soldiering front and center within popular culture and showcasing the roles training, teamwork and technology play in the Army. ... ) as protest and art space. DeLappe's homepage (and jpgs) here
A Dweller in Mesopotamia. Donald Maxwell was Official Artist to the Admiralty during World War I, and the end of the war found him in what was then called Mesopotamia (now Iraq); he compiled the sketches and paintings he did there into a book which Project Gutenberg has put online. I'm posting it for the frequently beautiful images, but the text is interesting too. He says Baghdad and Basra don't live up to the Westerner's romantic preconceptions ("The first general impression of Basra is that of an unending series of quays along a river not unlike the Thames at Tilbury"), but he also describes age-old scenes that are now gone for good. (Via wood s lot, one of the few sites I visit every day.)
At least one commander told him, "Follow the soldiers' instructions, because they'll put their lives at risk to save you." But no one tried to censor his drawings or discourage him from going out on missions. -- Steve Mumford is a New York painter who was embedded as a "combat artist" in Iraq. The archives of his Baghdad Journal make for fascinating reading. He has recently published a large book of the art he created on this voyage.
+WAR +Iraq Poster Exhibit Graphic designers from multiple political POVs collaborate, and the gallery is up to 17 pages of thumbnalish posters since March, 2003. [via jennet.radio]
Baghdad Journal An eyewitness artist's report from the Iraqi capital. Amazing watercolors.
"Hi. My name is Tony Kushner, I'm a playwright...Ladies and Gentlemen and Supporters of MoveOn: the first lady of the United States, Laura Welch Bush". About a year and a half ago Kushner, the Pulitzer-prize winning author of Angels in America, published the first act of a new play, Only We Who Guard The Mystery Shall Be Unhappy (full text). In it, Laura Bush reads Dostoyevsky to a classroom full of ghosts of dead Iraqi children. Now, (in Salon, I know, I know) the first lady metacriticizes Kushner's play. (more inside)
The Capobianco Gallery in San Francisco is closed. Its owner, Lori Haigh, was assaulted for displaying a painting by Guy Colwell which depicts the abuse of Iraqi prisoners.
Prosser High School teacher sees 15 year old student's war artwork depicting President Bush as a devil and another decapitated. Captions include calling an end to the war, and support for Ralph Nadar. Teacher hands artwork over to school administrators, who in turn bring in the Secret Service. Because that's what you do when you've handed out an assignment to kids "to keep a notebook of drawings depicting the war in Iraq".
Shocked and Awed: A gallery of Iraq schoolchildren art. Interesting galleries of crayon works, some obviously have high opinions of the occupation while others may not. [via Dangerousmeta]
The New Sculpture in Fardus Square: "The last thing artists think about is politics. Politicians get paid to talk, that's the opposite of what artists do."
20 days in Spring 2003 one artists response to 20 days in spring 2003 that have reshaped the world we live in.
Strokes of Genius is a site featuring Iraqi art throughout the ages. Also, check out Iraqi Art highlighting contemporary sculptors and artists. Another gallery here. (thanks to amberglow's cool new blog!)
national philistine is putting a very neccessary look at iraq and it's people - an american in iraq, the blog on the front page is one of the most humanizing things i've read in months.
.. part of the iraq peace team
.. part of the iraq peace team