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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Life + Arts

Iraqi art exhibit to end soon

Iraqi Artists in Exile, on display at the Station Museum of Contemporary Arts, will end its exhibition on Saturday.

The exhibit features 16 artists who lived in Iraq at one point in time and were forced to leave the country.

The art on display reflects not only Iraqi culture and traditional art, but also each artist’s experience with war and the destruction of their country.

‘This is a world class exhibit,’ managing editor of Free Press Houston Omar Afra said. ‘It transcends the fact that it’s Iraqi art.’

Several mediums were used for the artwork, including newspaper, photography and even the remnants of a bombed car.

The bombed car came from a famed street in Baghdad, which was originally lined with cafes and bookstores, and filled with poets and intellectuals- a far cry from the destruction and emptiness that describes it now.

‘Now (the car) is just gorgeous rust; it’s very powerful,’ Afra said.

A series titled I am Baghdad by Ayad Alkadhi features the faces of individuals painted on Iraqi newspapers with their thoughts written around their portrait.

‘You see a lot of Western street art and DC comic-like influences (in the art),’ said Afra.
On display is also an independent project, Born April 9th, by Sadik Kwaish Alfraji.

The idea for the exhibit came from James Harithas, director of the Station Museum of Contemporary Art, and follows on the footsteps of the ground-breaking 2007 exhibit Dafatir: Contemporary Iraqi Book Art and Station Museum’s own Made in Palestine, a 2003 exhibit exploring contemporary Palestinian art.

To celebrate the end of the exhibit, Free Press Houston will be hosting a closing reception at 7 p.m. Saturday at the museum, located at 1502 Alabama.

A free event, donations are welcomed and all proceeds go towards the Third Annual Houston Palestine Film Festival, scheduled for April, as well as Gaza humanitarian relief charities. Merchandise will be available for purchase and live music and free food and drinks will also be offered.

Authentic Palestinian, Lebanese and Iraqi food will be cooked and offered by mothers of the members of the Palestine Film Festival Committee.

‘This is really a very comprehensive show,’ Afra said. ‘It’s not an agenda, it’s a look at the human condition.’

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