Aaron Cezar: Everyday life dazzles at the Iraq pavilion

Organised by Ruya Foundation for Contemporary Culture, “Welcome to Iraq” is perhaps one of the most insightful pavilions, revealing the texture of everyday life in a country where “normality” barely exists. Uniquely, the curator Jonathan Watkins creates a dialogue between the works and the venue. Opting not to remove all of the furniture from the house to create a neutral space, the works are thus re-contextualized and woven into the fabric of the house. Iraqi rugs, books and other household items are placed alongside their Venetian counterparts with works by the artists nesting within this new and everyday context.

Visitors experiencing the mix of Venetian and Iraqi décor

The entire house becomes a salon for reflection and discussion. Visitors are encouraged to sit, read, watch and have tea. A must for the weary Biennale visitor.

A perfect occasion to rest those weary legs and sample some Iraqi treats

The exhibition features works by ten artists from across the country (including the Kurdish region). There are only two female artists, but despite the under-representation of women, the team seems to have made an extreme effort to visit artists across the country.

Untitled, 2013, an installation by the artist duo WAMI

While many of the artists are diamonds in the rough, the concept of the show and the atmosphere of the house provides a suitable context for their work and for us to begin to understand what concerns artists working in Iraq today.

Worth the detour

Aaron Cezar is the director of the Delfina Foundation

Published Thu, 30 May 2013 17:24:00 GMT

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