As part of our ongoing efforts to support artists in Iraq we’ve collaborated with the Embassy of Canada to host an exhibition of recent work by Iraqi artists, inside the International Zone. Though Baghdad’s artistic and international communities live in the same city, they’ve had little interaction, and we aim to bridge this gap.

The conversation with Mr. Robert Bissett, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Canada in Iraq began in June 2015, when we talked about the absence of an art market in Baghdad, in which local artists can benefit financially from their work. Though Iraqi art from the diaspora is thriving internationally, artists living within Iraq are cut out from the international art market: there are restrictions on financial transactions between Iraqi residents and the world, and tremendous difficulties shipping art works out of Iraq. Many artists emigrate in search of better opportunities.

So, we decided to bring the artists to the International Zone. We hope that the artists can sell their work, start to build a relationships internationally, and help them integrate in the global art world. Hosting an exhibition inside the International Zone has not been easy, and would not have been possible without the help and support of the Directorate of Cultural Relations at the Ministry of Culture. Access to the area is very restricted and very few residents of Baghdad are allowed inside. We discovered that the procedure for bringing art works into the International Zone was just as time consuming and extensive as bringing in Iraqi artists.

Our exhibitions are set to happen quarterly throughout the year, and below are details of past events:

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