Visualizing Iraqi Politics and Cultures in Iraq and the Diaspora
In the 1960s and 1970s, Baghdad emerged as a vital cultural center in the Arab world. After the devastation of the Hussein regime, and the developing civil war now, how do Iraqi artists today cope with the daily physical challenges most of us can barely imagine? The Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School and The Center for Book Arts in conjunction with their exhibition Dafatir: Contemporary Iraqi Book Art presents a panel discussion moderated by exhibition curator, Nada Shabout a leading authority on Iraqi contemporary art and a consultant to the U.S. Department of State Cultural Antiquities Task Force, explore the proliferation of the book as an art form pursued by contemporary Iraqi artists; the relationship between Islamic manuscripts and contemporary book art, notions of identity and resistance to the erasure of identity, and the experience of exile.
Hashim Al-Tawil is an Arab American from Iraq, who migrated to the United States in 1976. He has served on the faculty of the Academy of Fine arts at the University of Baghdad, Iraq as an instructor and department chair and coordinated the cultural program of the Arab American and Chaldean Council in Michigan. Currently, he teaches courses in Art History, Islamic Art and Arab American Studies at Henry Ford Community College.
Dr. Al-Tawil is the Associate Director of "The Pluralism Project" and director of Education, University of Michigan-Dearborn, an affiliate of the parent project at Harvard University since 1999. He is currently working on the project: "Restoring Iraqi Culture" - documenting and examining issues related to the looted Iraqi culture of 2003. Al-Tawil is also an active artist who exhibits his work locally, nationally, and overseas.
He has been nominated for a Fulbright research award for 2006-2007 to conduct field study on aspects of Islamic-Arabic culture during the 12 reign in Palermo, Sicily, Italy.
An Iraqi-born poet, novelist and filmmaker who left Iraq in 1991, Sinan Antoon is an assistant professor at New York University. He is a member of Middle East Report's editorial committee. His articles and poems have been widely published in both Arabic and English.
He co-produced and co-directed the film About Baghdad, a documentary about the lives of Iraqis after the 2003 invasion filmed in Baghdad. His first novel I jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody is being translated into English (forthcoming 2007).
Sharokin Betgevargiz, is an artist and a Lecturer on the topic of History of Graphic Design at Central Connecticut State University.
Michael Rakowitz (b. 1973, New York) is an artist based in Chicago and New York City. In 1998 he initiated paraSITE, an ongoing project in which the artist custom builds inflatable shelters for homeless people that attach to the exterior outtake vents of a building's heating, ventilation, or air conditioning system.
Rakowitz's work has appeared in exhibitions worldwide including P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, MassMOCA, the Tirana Biennale, the National Design Triennial at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and Transmediale 05: BASICS at the House of World Cultures in Berlin. His work has been included in "SAFE: Design Takes On Risk" at MoMA, "T1: The Pantagruel Syndrome" at the Castello di Rivoli in Torino, and "Beyond Green: Toward a Sustainable Art" at the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago. He has had solo exhibitions at Lombard-Freid Projects, New York City, Alberto Peola Arte Contemporanea in Torino, Italy, and the Stadtturmgalerie/Kunstraum Innsbruck.
Nada Shabout was the exhibition curator for Dafatir: Contemporary Iraqi Book Art. She is an Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of North Texas and a consultant to the U.S. Department of Stateâ€™s Cultural Antiquities Task Force.
Ella Shohat is Professor in the departments of Art and Public Policy and Middle Eastern Studies, and is also affiliated with Comparative Literature and the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program. She has published and lectured extensively, both nationally and internationally, on issues having to do with cultural studies, postcolonial theory, and visual culture. Her writings have been translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Hebrew, German and Turkish.