SOAS University of London

Brunei Gallery, SOAS University of London

Co-existent Ruins: Exploring Iraq’s Mesopotamian past through contemporary art

projected in the wall

Date: 18 January 2022Time: 11:00 AM

Finishes: 19 March 2022Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Brunei Gallery

Type of Event: Exhibition

SOAS’s Brunei Gallery is pleased to present this collaborative visual research project by Hanaa Malallah with Iraqi artists: Rayah Abd Al-Redah; Betoul Mahdey; Fatimah Jawdat, Rozhgar Mustafa and Michael Rakowitz.

CO-EXISTENT RUINS seeks to address how it might be possible to re-generate an engagement with four identified Mesopotamian ancient heritage sites (Ur, Babylon, Nippur, and Nimrud) by local Iraqi artists in post - conflict Iraq. These sites, while still providing security guards and space for international archaeological research, have become derelict during the recent traumatic wars and conflict in Iraq.

The project explores the critical question of how contemporary collaborative art projects conducted at these key archaeological sites can enable a re-engagement with this ancient heritage and history by re-locating it in the present. The works in the exhibition examine whether there is a capacity for artistic research to explore a new aesthetic where this ancient Mesopotamia heritage is so important in shaping Iraq’s current traumatic identity for the future.

The exhibition includes work by Hanaa Malallah, in collaboration with the following Iraqi artists at the specific ancient sites inside Iraq:

1. The Ziggurat at Nufar/Ancient Nippur/Al Qadisiyyah. (Artist: Fatimah Jawdet.)  

2. The Ziggurat at Ancient Ur /Tell al Muqqayar/ Nasiriyah and its surroundings (Artist: Reyah Abd Al-Redah.)

3.  The Ruins of Ancient Babylon/ Hillah.

4. Nimrud/ Nineveh (Mosul). (Artist: Rozhgar Mustafa.)

5. Baghdad Archaeological Museum. (Artist: Betoul Mahdey.)

6. Invited artist: Michael Rakowitz