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Iraqi artist Haider Jabbar, one of the five selected artists for the Iraq Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, 2015, is currently completing a year-long residency in Samsun, Turkey supported by Ruya Foundation.

The young, Baghdad-based artist fled to Turkey in November 2014, where he lives as an asylum-seeker. Ruya had been following his work while he was still in Iraq, and provided Haider Jabbar with a studio space and work tools in Samsun. Ruya’s chairman Tamara Chalabi and Iraq Pavilion curator Philippe Van Cauteren visited Haider at his studio space, and offer regular mentoring. The aim of the residency is to give the talented artist the tools and opportunity to continue to practice and develop his work.

Haider started his career in film, working in art direction on short and feature films. He received a classical art education at the Baghdad Institute of Fine Arts but succeeded in escaping canonical restrictions and now works in a very intimate and direct style of painting. He has had two solo shows in Baghdad, the second entitled RCU (Respiratory Care Unit) in 2013 in homage to his late mother.

A selection of his most recent work will be on display at the Iraq Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale, after which Haider Jabbar will continue to be supported by Ruya in Samsun.

Read an interview with Haider Jabbar.