Curated by Murtaza Vali
February 4 – May 21, 2017
Howard Greenberg Family Gallery
Hanaa Mal-Alah (b. 1958, thee Qar, Iraq), Uruk Wall, 2006, Mixed media on carved wood, courtesy Pomegranate Gallery
Drawn from the personal collection of New York-based sculptor Oded Halahmy, a Jewish native of Baghdad, this exhibition presents his work alongside that of eight contemporary artists from Iraq, organized around the notions of text and texture. The varied works in the exhibition range from examples of modern Arabic and Hebrew calligraphy, illustrating texts from both Western and Islamic philosophical traditions, to those that evoke hurufiyah, an influential modern Arab variant of Lettrism, which used 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—of letters, words, and books—in Iraqi society, culture and visual arts, both past and present.
Mohmammed al Hamadany