Festival of Iraqi Culture Event: Book Reading, Signing and Discussion: "We Are Iraqis: Aesthetics and Politics in a Time of War"

Wed, March 27, 2013 7:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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We Are Iraqis: Aesthetics and Politics in a Time of War, Edited by Nadje Al-Ali and Deborah Al-Najjar (Syracuse University Press, 2012)

Eloquence: A Festival of Iraqi Culture

The Book Reading of "We Are Iraqis" is an Alwan-sponsored and hosted event that is part of a multi-disciplinary Festival of Iraqi Culture that will take place in New York City in March of 2013. Curated by Alwan for the Arts and hosted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Festival will celebrate Iraq’s contributions to world heritage and living Iraqi cultural producers of international importance, including world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid, poet Saadi Yusef, and [other names].This Festival coincides with the ten-year anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, and will showcase the richness and beauty of Iraq's cultural heritage at a time of heightened public awareness and consciousness about Iraq, and offering a vision for Iraq's future.

Book Reading and Discussion: We Are Iraqis: Aesthetics and Politics in a Time of War

While the occupation of Iraq and its aftermath has received some media and political attention, we know very little about the everyday lives of Iraqis. Iraqi men, women, and children are not merely passive victims of violence, vulnerable recipients of repressive regimes, or bystanders of their countries destruction. In the face of danger and trauma, Iraqis continue to cope, preparing food, sending their children to school, socializing, telling jokes, and dreaming of a better future. Within the realm of imagination and creative expression, the editors find that many Iraqi artists have not only survived, but also have sought healing.

In We Are Iraqis, Al-Ali and Al-Najjar showcase the written and visual contributions by Iraqi artists, writers, poets, filmmakers, photographers, and activists. Contributors explore the way Iraqis retain, subvert, and produce art and activism as ways of coping with despair, resisting chaos and destruction. The first anthology of its kind, We Are Iraqis brings into focus the multitude of ethnicities, religions, and experiences that are all part of Iraq.

Tickets: $5 suggested donation at the door.

Doors open at 6:30pm


Speaker Bios:

Nadje Al-Ali is professor of gender studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. Her publications include Iraqi Women: Untold Stories from 1948 to the Present and What Kind of Liberation? Women and the Occupation of Iraq (coauthored with Nicola Pratt).

Deborah Al-Najjar is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California.

Ella Shohat is Professor of Cultural Studies at New York University. Her books include Taboo Memories, Diasporic Voices, Talking Visions: Multicultural Feminism in a Transnational Age, and with Robert Stam Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the Media and Flagging Patriotism: Crises of Narcissism and Anti-Americanism.

Dena Al-Adeeb is an artist/writer born in Baghdad, Iraq. She is currently pursing a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Culture and Representation Track, at New York University. She received her M.A. in Anthropology-Sociology at the American University in Cairo and B.A. in International Relations with a concentration in Women Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at San Francisco State University.

Al-Adeeb works in a variety of media including installation, painting, sculpting, video, photography, sound and performance. Her work has been presented in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, Berkeley, Michigan/U.S.A, Örebro/Sweden, Cairo/Egypt, Dubai,/U.A.E, Tunis/ Tunisia and at the Headlands Center for the Arts, Worth Ryder Gallery at University of California-Berkeley, Örebro International Videoart Festival, Darb 1718, Falaki Gallery, Mashrabia Gallery, Karim Francis Gallery, Bastakiya Art Fair, Galerie le Violon Bleu, Pro-Arts Gallery, the Arab American National
Museum, Museum of Latin American Art, Museum of Modern Art, Tunis, among others.

Her work has also been published in Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, The Color of Violence Anthology, Arab and Arab American Feminisms: Gender, Violence and Belonging Anthology, We Are Iraqis: Aesthetics and Politics in a Time of War, Contemporary Practices Journal and Art Dubai Journal, among others.


Reviews & Press

“Creativity is a form of resistance. This is the exhilarating message running through We Are Iraqis. Here is a rare chance for us all to see war's effects in looted museums, pain-filled poetry, exiled studios, where, against the odds, Iraqi artists refuse to be silenced or pushed into the shadows.” —Cynthia Enloe, author of Nimo's War, Emma's War:Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War

“A very important contribution to the fields of peace, resistance, and war. The book highlights the voices of Iraqi cultural producers and actors, providing them with a space to speak on their own behalf.” —Zeina Zaatari, Senior Program Officer, the Global Fund for Women

Read or listen to a Jadaliyya interview with the editors here

Last updated: 2013-02-25 12:30:33

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