Ruya Foundation for Contemporary Culture in Iraq (Ruya) is delighted to announce the appointment of Philippe Van Cauteren as curator of the National Pavilion of Iraq for the 56th Venice Biennale in May 2015. The appointment follows the great success of Welcome to Iraq, which Ruya commissioned for the 55th edition of the Biennale in 2013.

Philippe Van Cauteren, artistic director of S.M.A.K. Museum for Contemporary Art in Ghent and who co-curated the Belgian Pavilion in 2013, has been appointed by Ruya to curate a pavilion that resonates with the rich scope of Iraqi identity extending beyond the country’s fragile borders. Van Cauteren is currently in conversation with a range of artists from various disciplines and he will finalise his vision for the exhibition after a trip to Iraq, organised and facilitated by Ruya.

Van Cauteren’s commitment to nurturing and empowering Iraqi artists also extends beyond the Biennale. He said, ‘the Pavilion exhibition will constitute the beginning of a continued relationship with Ruya, working to enable a new generation of Iraqi artists to transcend their geography and prosper on a global scale.’

Chairman of Ruya Tamara Chalabi said, ‘Philippe Van Cauteren is suitably positioned to explore Iraq’s complicated terrain, having worked in diverse international contexts, as well as further enlarging S.M.A.K.’s artistic focus. At this very critical juncture in Iraq’s existence, Ruya believes that the presence of a National Pavilion of Iraq at Venice will act as a crucial ambassador for the endurance of Iraqi contemporary culture.’

To coincide with the exhibition Ruya is producing a book in collaboration with Mousse Publishing.

Further details about the Pavilion and the artists involved will be announced in March 2015.

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