About us

Who we are

Ruya Foundation for Contemporary Culture in Iraq is an Iraqi registered non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 2012 with the aim of aiding and enriching culture in Iraq, and building cultural bridges with the world.

Ruya was officially registered by the Iraq Commission for Civil Society Enterprises (reg no. 1B75468).

Ruya Foundation’s board members are:
Tamara Chalabi (chair), Reem Shather-Kubba, Shwan Ibrahim Taha.


Ruya’s initial goal is to promote culture in Iraq at a time when priorities are focused elsewhere, and to build a platform that will enable Iraqis in the arts, the young in particular, to benefit from, and participate in international events. In addition to supporting local projects, its aim is to create a network of intercultural events that can contribute to the development of civil society in Iraq. It is also committed to nurturing a multicultural dialogue through the arts.


Ruya initiates and commissions creative projects in the visual, audiovisual and performing arts. Ruya is the commissioner of the National Pavilion of Iraq for the 56th Venice Biennale in May 2015. Ruya collaborated with international artist Ai Weiwei in a major publication Traces of Survival: Drawings by refugees in Iraq selected by Ai Weiwei. In March 2015, Ruya launched the first drama therapy project in Baghdad, supported by the Prince Claus Fund. In 2013, RUYA commissioned Welcome to Iraq for the 55th Venice Biennale. Ruya has co-produced films by young and emerging Iraqi filmmakers, including Furat al Jamil’s Baghdad Night.

Following its mission to support and promote culture within Iraq, Ruya holds an extensive and unique database of artists working within Iraq, spanning all disciplines from visual arts to theatre and music. We continually strive to promote these artists through collaborative efforts with cultural institutions globally. To request more information about our artists, please contact us.

In addition, the Ruya blog is a live platform for Iraqi art. Interviews with emerging and established artists both in Iraq and those based in the diaspora are published regularly to encourage dialogue, the exchange of ideas and promote the possibility of collaboration.

For more information about our activities and our artists, or to submit a portfolio, please contact us.

Sponsors and Supporters

As a non-profit, we rely on donations. Below are the organisations and individuals who have generously sponsored our activities:

H.E. Mr. Nechirvan Barzani

Mr. Khalid Khoshnaw

Ms. Soraya Chaar









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We would also like to thank the following organisations for their support:

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