Handwerker Shows Palestinian and Iraqi Art
This fall the Handwerker Gallery exhibit Art Across Borders featured more than 50 contemporary works from Palestine and Iraq. It was a rare opportunity for viewers to become acquainted with the creations of artists who work under sometimes life-threatening conditions.
Babylon Lyon by Mu'Ayad Muhsein, Hilla, Iraq, 2002
The exhibition included a diversity of styles and subject matter, ranging from the experiments with symbols and texture of the painter Shaddad, who focuses on the relations between men and women, to traditional Arabic calligraphy. The pieces from Palestine included the large, detailed pen-and-ink graphics of Abadal Rahman al Mozayeen of Gaza City, who presents issues through the use of the female form; and the simple but powerful crayon drawings of children and tanks by a 15-year-old artist.
Exhibit curator Meg Novak, an artist and community organizer in Minneapolis, came to campus for a day of discussion. She talked of her time in Iraq and Palestine and her visits to the homes and studios of the artists. The works from Iraq in the resulting collection became the first exhibit in the United States of artwork from artists living in Iraq since before the 1991 Gulf War.