Exhibition focuses on key moments in Iraq’s history
October 18 2016 12:12 AM
Operation Freedom Iraq Family sculpture. (right) Remains of a Ravages City sculpture.

Qatar Museums (QM) has opened ‘Fragments, an exhibition by Mahmoud Obaidi,’ yesterday at QM Gallery in Katara – the Cultural Village, Building 10.
Presented under the leadership of its QM chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the major solo exhibition, running until January 30, 2017, by the contemporary Iraqi-Canadian artist is a response to the destruction of Iraq after the invasion of 2003.
Fragments sees Obaidi trying to recreate all that has been stolen or destroyed in the country as he grapples with the loss of 7,000 years of history in a fraction of that time.
In this major exhibition, he traces the trail of destruction through a series of installations, each connected by a rope representing the ‘organised chaos’ let loose upon Iraq.
From installations recounting significant moments in Iraq’s recent history such as a toppled statue of Saddam Hussein, through to installations offering a perspective on the life of a modern day Iraqi family, and installations carrying remnants of ancient Iraqi culture, the exhibition offers a lasting memory of all that has been lost. In an interview between Obaidi and art curator, critic and historian of art, Hans Ulrich Obrist, published in an accompanying exhibition publication, Obaidi recalled he did a study of what has been looted from Iraq and what has been destroyed.
Khalid Yousef al-Ibrahim, chief strategic planning officer at QM, recalled that Obaidi is a longstanding friend of QM. “He has made a significant impact to the development of arts and culture in Qatar, through both his great work at the Fire Station Artist in Residence initiative and now through his solo exhibition.”
“Fragments is one of Obaidi’s most striking and thought-provoking exhibitions yet.”
Highlights of the exhibition include artworks such as the ‘Untitled,’ which addresses the significance of the fall of the statue of Saddam Hussein in April 2003.
It was described as marking the symbolic conclusion of the Battle of Baghdad.
The Remains of a Ravaged City installation, which spans almost eight metres, is a statement on a large scale about the destruction of Iraq and the artist’s sense of loss. Behind the aggressively applied black brush strokes, Obaidi depicts a riot of partially obscured figures, evoking a sense of menace and unease.
Obaidi was born in 1966 in Iraq. His artistic career has been marked by transition, conflict, fragmentation and exile, and his work encompasses sculpture, conceptual objects, film and painting, forming a series of politically-charged fragments which are brought together within this exhibition.
In conjunction with the show, QM will also publish a book on this exhibition, documenting Obaidi’s work and career. Saleh Al Hamad al-Mana Co. is the official sponsor of the Mahmoud Obaidi exhibition.

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