Lecture Evening: Cultural Destruction in Iraq



24 February 06


7-10 pm

Lecture Evening: Cultural Destruction in Iraq

In the context of Contemporary Arab Representations: The Iraqi Equation

7 pm

Fernando Báez: The destruction of the cultural heritage in Iraq

Presentation in English

Fernando Báez (born 1963 in San Félix de Guayana, VE) is a poet, novelist and writer who has made up the vulnerability of libraries across history. Hundreds of his essays have appeared in magazines in the United States, Europe, South America and Asia. For his study of the history of the Alexandria Library in the Historia de la Antigua Biblioteca de Alejandria (Barcelona 2003), he received the Vintila Horia Prize for essays. In 2003, after the invasion of the US forces in Iraq, Báez was a member of the UNESCO Commission, which investigated the destruction of the National Library in Baghdad. He documented the devastating results in the book La Destrucción Cultural de Iraq (Barcelona 2004). His book, Historia Universal de la Destruccion de Libros (Destino, 2004), has been translated into twelve languages.

8 pm

Hashim Al-Tawil: Art in Times of War: The political fate of public monuments in Iraq after the US invasion

Presentation in English

Dr. Hashim Al-Tawil (born 1952 in Kerbala, IQ) is professor of art history at Henry Ford Community College, Michigan, USA, and was active in the Iraqi art scene in the 1970s and 1980s. In his lecture, Al-Tawil will discuss the emergence of ideologically oriented art in public space, which has followed the ideal image of Pan-Arabism since 1958 and determines the national identity of Iraq. Since the fall of the Baa'th regime after the American invasion in 2003, these public monuments are in a critical and paradoxical position: some have already been destroyed, removed or dismantled, others awaiting an unknown fate. Al-Tawil will discuss the characteristics and iconography of these monuments, highlighting the religious and political contexts of the new coalition government of Shiites and Kurds in order to show a possible future for these monuments.

9 pm

Sinan Antoon: Debris and diaspora: Iraqi culture today

Presentation in English

The last three decades of Iraqi history are marked by totalitarianism, wars, and genocide; today, military occupation and civil-war-like conditions leave indelible traces and wounds in culture and society. Can the territory (s) of Iraqi culture be more clearly defined? What is the picture, and by what factors from past and present is it determined? The most important question in this context, however, is the prospects for the future of Iraq's culture in view of the internal and external political situation: Will it rise from the ashes like a phoenix?

Sinan Antoon (born 1967 in Baghdad) is a poet, novelist and translator. He left Baghdad in 1991 and studied at the universities of Georgetown and Harvard, where he is writing his doctorate on Arabic literature. He is also a junior professor for Arabic Cultural Studies at New York University. His book publications are among others A Prism, Wet with Wars (Cairo 2003) and I`jam (Beirut 2004). In 2003, he returned to Iraq to film the documentary About Baghdad on the lives of people in occupied Iraq after Saddam.

10 pm

Fernando Báez, Hashim Al-Tawil and Sinan Antoon in conversation

Contemporary Arab Representations: The Iraqi Equation is a project of Catherine David, organized and produced by the KW Institute for Contemporary Art and the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona in cooperation with Arteleku Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa and the Universidad Internacional de Andalucía-UNIA arteypensamiento. The Iraqi Equation is funded by the Federal Cultural Foundation and the Ministerio de Cultura de España. With additional support from Juan Lucas Young / sauerbruch hutton architects, the Al-Kamel publishing house, Schiler publishing house and the Banipal magazine. The Iraqi Equation is part of the Contemporary Arab Representations, a long-term project of Catherine David, organized and produced by the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona, ​​Arteleku Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa and the Universidad Internacional de Andalucía-UNIA arteypensamiento.

Catherine David (born 1954 in Paris) is currently a fellow of the Federal Cultural Foundation at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.