Salam Atta Sabri – kathmandu triennale

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Artwork Description

‘Letters from Baghad’, 2013-ongoing

‘Letters from Baghdad’ is the title of an ongoing series of drawings. The drawings have a hectic nervous energy. In the drawings there are references to the ancient civilisation of Sumer, the cityscape of Baghdad, but most of important of all to the biography of Salam Atta Sabri himself. Dates and places are written all over the dense loaded drawings. The artist returned to his hometown Baghdad after the death of Sadam Hussein, convinced that things were going to be better. The nightmare of a new war in the aftermath of the second Gulf War he entered in were the material which made him make these drawings. Here drawing is a way of therapy, or even as a way of mourning.



Salam Atta Sabri (b. 1953) trained as a ceramicist and lived in the USA and Jordan for 16 years. His work con­cerns his expe­rien­ces after retur­ning to his bir­th­place, which had under­gone serious chan­ges as a result of its con­flicts. He returned to Baghdad in 2005, where he produced around 300 drawings between 2012 and 2015 that he has never shown in public. These intensely personal works exhibit the experience of an artist striving to create under the shadow of a crumbling arts infrastructure. One hundred of these drawings were on display to the public for the first time at the National Pavilion of Iraq at 56th Venice Biennale.