Literally "Happy chance," but it means "Nice to meet you" in Arabic. The appropriate response is "Wa ana as'ad,"--literally "and I am happier," but basically, "the pleasure is mine."
If you're looking for substance, there's a handy link called "Analysis" right down below, which I invite you to check out. The rest is shorter thoughts, humor, caps lock, and the occasional personal post. Ask me anything you like.
FYI, I co-blog a lot of pop culture, fangirly things with my dear CT over at 22drunkb. If you enjoy hilarity and flailing, head that way. ________
The first challenge was finding artists in a country where making paintings or sculpture might seem at best a secondary concern compared with keeping body and soul together. But Chalabi, one of the figures behind the Ruya Foundation for Contemporary Culture in Iraq, was determined to dent the mainstream western “Newsnight version” of the country: “Tanks, bombs, rockets, blood. It’s not about whitewashing that – but rather about giving a voice to human beings that have been overlooked.”
Chalabi described an art world that is painstakingly emerging not only from the crippling effects of invasion and the struggle to exist in a postwar world of fragile security, but from years of the dead hand of the Saddam regime, when the only art training available was deeply conservative and tinged by a prevailing social-realist aesthetic. “Even self-respecting artists will have had to do portraits of the leader,” she said.
But she and British curator Jonathan Watkins, director of Birmingham’s Ikon gallery, went on the road to find and meet artists from Kurdistan to Basra and Baghdad, ranging from the caustically witty political cartoonist Abdul Raheem Yassir to photographer Jamal Penjweny, whoseseries of photographs Saddam Is Here shows ordinary Iraqis in everyday situations holding an image of Saddam over their own faces like a mask. The latter work is a reminder, according to Watkins, that the “mentality of the regime lingers in the mind”. […]
Furat al Jamil, who lives in Baghdad where she works as a film-maker, has one piece in the show: a sculpture of a broken, 300-year-old Mesopotamian ceramic vessel hung over with honeycombs. The pot, she said, might be seen as “symbolic of a broken culture, or of a broken life”. The idea of honey and the beehive, she says, “in mythology represents the soul” – there is, she says, a sense of healing or reparation, however tentative.
This whole thing makes me very pleased, and doubly so that it’s getting some international notice. There’s an adorable story at the beginning about the hunt for someone in Italy who could make the traditional Iraqi biscuits the curator wanted to offer guests, and I skipped a fair number of details. Go look.
Maïmouna Patrizia Guerresi
As a photographer, sculptor, and installation artist, ‘Maïmouna’ Patrizia Guerresi reveals unique and authentic sensibilities in her narration of the beauty and subtleties of racial diversity and multiculturalism. Over an established career, she has developed her own symbolism, which combines cosmological and ancestral traditions belonging to various European, African, and Asian cultures. Her personal commitment to Baifall Sufism has led her to produce an aesthetic that is able to bridge time, space and civilisations, as well as figuration and abstraction.
The human body is seen as the nucleus and temple of the soul, a place that houses a delicate, higher awareness; the very conduit for encompassing natural and cosmic forces. More about mysticism than any singular religion, her work is visionary in that it restores those elusive qualities of sacredness and unity in our frequently dehumanising and fragmented contemporary visual world. Her classic iconographic style explores the universality of human experience and reclaims the often hidden nurturing powers of feminine energy. Presented as a kind of free flowing epic, the viewer is left to read the significance of her imagery and quietly meditate on its potential to personally engage with its audience. As if her figures were speaking directly to each one of us.
From her earliest experiments with the physicality and archetypal imprinting of the psyche, through to her latest, evermore metaphoric ‘inner constellations’, Maïmouna insists on a cross-cultural discourse and an expansion of the boundaries that normally dictate our individual attitudes. She invites us to see further and to look deeper – past skin colour, preconceptions, and ethnic landscapes – into the wider paradigm of inclusion. She leads us through apparently simple notions of dimensionality into the exquisite, mystical and fragile complexities of life from within. - Rosa Maria Falvo,