The new exhibition at the DOX Centre for Contemporary art offers an unfamiliar perspective of Iraq. Featuring work of local Iraqi photographers it shows what daily life looks like in a region, which we are used to knowing only through images of war. The exhibition will be on view until 8 January 2018.
War, violence, militias, humanitarian crises, refugee camps – these are the public media images through which we “know” Iraq, a country currently trapped in a conflict whose consequences have reached far beyond its borders.
The OVER MY EYES exhibition offers a different view. Through the eyes of a young generation of local photographers, the project presents less frequently captured fragments of reality that constitute daily life in the country: from the vastness of the northern mountainous borders, to a range of different situations across the country with the fading flashback of its recent history and the consequences of the ongoing conflict.
With unprecedented access and knowledge of the local environment, the photographers Aram Karim, Bnar Sardar, Hawre Khalid, Seivan M. Salim, Rawsht Twana, and Ali Arkady bring us closer to their land, a country once part of ancient Mesopotamia, “the cradle of civilization”. They bring us closer to its people, their stories, and to a life that goes on in spite of the war.
In May 2014 the author and curator of the OVER MY EYES project, Stefano Carini, went to Iraq to work as a photo editor at the first and only independent Iraqi photo agency.
One month after his arrival, on 10 June, the city of Mosul fell into the hands of ISIS (the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), which within three days conquered hundreds of kilometers of territory, displacing half a million people and causing one of the worst humanitarian crises since World War II.
On 12 June 2014, the photo agency’s founder and director was abducted by the insurgents. He has been missing ever since.
“Under these extraordinary circumstances and contrary to my original intention, I decided to stay in Iraq to maintain the agency’s agenda and to continue working with young local photographers whose photographs are being featured in the OVER MY EYES exhibition," says Stefano Carini.
Carini’s own images that convey his personal encounter with a land permanently entangled with war are featured in an attendant exhibition The Woman, the Moon, the Snake.
The OVER MY EYES exhibition will be on view at DOX Centre for Contemporary Art until 8 January 2018. The title of the exhibition comes from the literal translation of the Kurdish Ser Chaw and the Arabic ala 3iny, which are both used to say “you are welcome” and wants to be an invitation for a debate about the way in which we produce and consume imagery and visual information.
Exhibition Concept: Stefano Carini, Michaela Šilpochová (DOX), Leoš Válka (DOX)
Curator: Stefano Carini
About project authors:
After studying photography and photojournalism, Carini worked as photo editor for NOOR Images in Amsterdam. In May 2014 he moved to Iraq where he lead Metrography. He has initiated, managed and curated Map of Displacement, a year-long investigation into the lives of displaced Iraqis. Carini has given lectures at different institutions across the world, and curated both solo and group exhibitions. He lives and works in Torino, where he is the co-founder and director of DARST, a nomadic art studio for research and production of documentary projects.
Dario Bosio studied Journalism and specialized in Documentary Photography and Videomaking. He worked among others at NOOR Images in Amsterdam and at 10b Photography in Rome. In 2015, he moved to Iraq where he worked as the photo-editor of Metrography, During this time, he co-produced and curated the project Map of Displacement. Bosio is based between Italy and Germany and is the co-founder and artistic director of DARST. His practice as a documentary photographer and videographer focuses on social issues and voluntarily questions the language of photojournalism.
9 Sep / 5pm
OVER MY EYES – a guided tour and round-table discussion
with the photographers and project authors/curators
10 Oct / 10.30am
UNDER(PRESS)URE – special edition at Forum 2000
/ a distinguished panel of foreign journalists discuss
the “post-truth” world, photojournalism, embedded
journalism and related issues
venue: Austrian Cultural Forum
11 Oct / 7pm
ON AIR: Bakhtiyar Ali & Kareem Abdulrahman
/ a discussion in the Gulliver Airship with acclaimed
contemporary Kurdish writer Bakhtiyar Ali and translator
16 – 20 Oct
A photography workshop with Stefano Carini,
photo editorand author of the OVER MY EYES project
19 Oct / 7pm
KINOLAB – The Power of Borders: Search for Identity
/ an evening of film and discussion on the topic of human
identity, national identity, and the notion of home
22 Nov / 7 pm
KINOLAB – The Power of Borders: Love Thy Neighbour
/ an evening of film and discussion on the topic of religions
and their misinterpretation
6 Dec / 7pm
KINOLAB – The Power of Borders: A Place Called Home
/ an evening of film and discussion on the topic of life