Artists announced for the Iraqi Venice pavilion 2017

Francis Alÿs during a visit to camp Shariya in northern Iraq in February 2016. Courtesy Ruya Foundation

The Ruya Foundation has announced the list of artists participating in the Iraq Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale, scheduled to run from 13 May – 26 November. Curated by Tamara Chalabi from the Ruya Foundation and Paolo Colombo from the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, the exhibition Archaic will feature the work of eight modern and contemporary artists in dialogue with ancient Iraqi artefacts, as well as a new commission by Francis Alÿs. The contemporary artists include Luay Fadhil, Sherko Abbas, Sakar Sleman, Ali Arkady, Sadik Kwaish Alfraji, and Nadine Hattom, five of which will present new work commissioned by the Ruya Foundation for the pavilion. They will be shown alongside works by Jawad Salim (1919–1961), an influential artist of the Iraqi Modern period, and Shaker Hassan Al Said (1925–2004), his pupil and friend.

Francis Alÿs’s commission will explore the role of the artist in war and themes of nomadism, based on the artist's longstanding dialogue with the Ruya Foundation and travels in the region (including visits of refugee camps in Northern Iraq and an expedition in October with a Kurdish battalion on the Mosul frontline).

Details on the ancient artefacts, alongside which the works of the artists are to be shown, will be announced in 2017.  

7 December 2016