Ai Weiwei Project and Participants at the Iraqi Pavilion at Venice Biennale Announced

The Iraqi Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, 2013 Photo: The Ruya Foundation for Contemporary Cultutre in Iraq

The Ruya Foundation has announced its plans for the National Pavilion of Iraq at the 2015 Venice Biennale.

The exhibition, entitled “Invisible Beauty” and curated by Philippe Van Cauteren (see Philippe Van Cauteren Will Curate Iraqi Pavilion at 2015 Venice Biennale), will feature the works of five contemporary artists from Iraq and the diaspora: the photographers Latif Al Ani and Akam Shex Hadi, the sculptor Salam Atta Sabri, the painter Haider Jabbar, and the performance artist Rabab Ghazoul.

This selection was made by Van Cauteren following a journey to Iraq with Tamara Chalabi, the foundation’s chair and co-founder (see Tamara Chalabi on ISIS Destruction, the Ruya Foundation, and Commissioning the Iraqi Pavilion at the Venice Biennale).

“’Invisible Beauty’ is like a fragile membrane that registers the oscillations of an artistic practice permeated by the current condition of the country and the state of the arts,” said Van Cauteren in a statement.

The group show will be accompanied by a display of over 500 drawings made by refugees in northern Iraq. The Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei has selected a number of these drawings, which will be included in a major publication to be be launched at the Biennale (see Ai Weiwei Urges Visitors to Alcatraz Exhibition to Write to Political Prisoners and Ai Weiwei Takes Over Downton Abbey-esque Estate).

The Ruya Foundation believes that the systematic destruction of the cultural heritage of Iraq by ISIS, as seen in the recent demolition of ancient historic sites at Nimrud and Nineveh, and the events at the Mosul Museum, has made it more crucial than ever to show works by artists from Iraq (see ISIS Bulldozes 3,000-Year-Old Major Assyrian Site in Nimrud, Iraq and ISIS Militants Storm Museum and Smash 3,000 Year Old Assyrian Sculptures on Video).

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