Text/ures of Iraq
Contemporary Art from the Collection of Oded Halahmy
Presents work by Halahmy and eight other contemporary artists from Iraq: Hayder Ali, Amal Alwan, Mohammed al Hamadany, Ismail Khayat, Hanaa Malallah, Hassan Massoudy, Naziha Rashid, and Qasim Sabti.
Text/ures of Iraq presents work by New York-based sculptor Oded Halahmy, a Jewish native of Baghdad, alongside that of eight contemporary artists from Iraq: Hayder Ali, Amal Alwan, Mohammed al Hamadany, Ismail Khayat, Hanaa Malallah, Hassan Massoudy, Naziha Rashid, and Qasim Sabti. Gathering works that reference Iraq's literary past in an effort to better understand the region's present, the book finds its constituent artists celebrating their country as a pastoral idyll, where people of different beliefs, cultures, and ethnicities peacefully coexisted for centuries, while also mourning the gradual, more recent fraying of Iraqi culture. The layered and abraded surfaces of some of the pieces speak to the persistence of violence, while the picturesqueness of others captures the powerful affective textures of nostalgia and exile.
The book also features examples of modern Arabic and Hebrew calligraphy, including some variants of this form that evoke hurufiyah, an influential modern Arab variant of Lettrism that uses the swoops and curves of the Arabic alphabet as painterly gestures. From abstract collages constructed out of the remains of destroyed books to the Hebrew calligraphy seen in Halahmy's art, these works demonstrate the importance of the literary in Iraqi society, culture, and visual arts of the past and present day.
Oded Halahmy currently lives in New York City and Old Jaffa, Israel. His sculptures are in the collection of the Guggenheim Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum, and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, as well as many other public and private collections worldwide. Sara J. Pasti is the Neil C. Trager Director of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Murtazi Vali is a critic and curator based in Sharjah, UAE and Brooklyn. He regularly publishes in international art periodicals and has contributed to publications for both commercial galleries and nonprofit institutions around the world. He is a visiting instructor at Pratt Institute and a lead tutor of Campus Art Dubai 5. 0. Ursula Morgan is the Coordinator of Exhibitions and Programs of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York at New Paltz.