By Nadje Al-Ali
While the profession of Iraq and its aftermath has bought media and political awareness, we all know little or no concerning the daily lives of Iraqis. Iraqi males, ladies, and kids should not purely passive sufferers of violence, susceptible recipients of repressive regimes, or bystanders in their country’s destruction. within the face of threat and trauma, Iraqis proceed to manage, getting ready meals, sending their young ones to varsity, socializing, telling jokes, and dreaming of a higher destiny. in the realm of mind's eye and artistic expression, the editors locate that many Iraqi artists haven't purely survived yet have additionally sought therapeutic.
In we're Iraqis, Al-Ali and Al-Najjar show off written and visible contributions through Iraqi artists, writers, poets, filmmakers, photographers, and activists. participants discover the best way Iraqis maintain, subvert, and bring paintings and activism as methods of dealing with depression and resisting chaos and destruction. the 1st anthology of its type, we're Iraqis brings into concentration the multitude of ethnicities, religions, and reports which are all a part of Iraq.
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Extra info for We Are Iraqis: Aesthetics and Politics in a Time of War
Bilal’s creations cross over genres, art forms, and viewer’s expectations. As he notes, his work as an artist will engage the Introduction xxxiii person who may or may not care about politics. He cleverly gains audiences who might not be gallery goers. The matter of his performance/ art reaches more people: they are forced to think more critically about Iraqis, destruction, and the wages of war. The editors and the contributors are Iraqis speaking for themselves about their homeland. We ﬁ nd too often in area studies, speciﬁcally Middle East studies, that the intellectual, political, and cultural experts are outsiders who manage the production and circulation of knowledge and are the ones granted “expert” status.
The notion of humanitarian anything is predicated on a faith in humanity or a foundational assumption about humanism itself. Sinan Antoon’s “diary” is a meditation on empire and the nature of humans. What does it mean to be a philistine? Who gets to call whom a barbarian? Where is home for the exilic ﬁgure and how do you confront your occupier when you are a citizen of that country and your childhood home is being devastated while you watch TV, teach your courses, eat your dinner? In her contribution to this book, Celia Shallal examines representations of Iraqis in media and as mediated.
Journalists and other Western viewers of contemporary Iraqi art are often surprised and disappointed that Iraq’s art is not ﬁguratively wearing their perception of its “national identity” as a badge. Within the Arab world, and in view of the new, albeit limited, value Arab art is acquiring internationally, there is much celebration and less historical or visual analysis and criticism. There is a profound need in the region to evaluate works of art as objects of aesthetics and products of visual culture, not just rejoicing in their production.