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This exhibition gathers works that reference Iraq’s literary past in an effort to better understand the region’s present. 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. <em>Text/ures of Iraq </em>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 exhibition also features examples of modern Arabic and Hebrew calligraphy, including some variants of this form that evoke <em>hurufiyah</em>, 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 the present day.