Rijin Sahakian, “Twenty Years After the Invasion of Iraq: Sada in Context’
Date(s) - 06/08/2023
e-flux Screening Room
Join us at e-flux Screening Room on Thursday, June 8 at 7pm for “Twenty Years After the Invasion of Iraq: Sada in Context,” an evening with Rijin Sahakian. Guest-curated by Ali Hussein Al-Adawy, the evening will feature a screening of Sada [regroup] (2022), and a discussion with Sahakian and Dina Ramadan.
The program is co-presented with ArteEast, and is part of the legacy program Unpacking the ArteArchive, which preserves and presents twenty years of film and video programming by the organization. It will be accompanied by an online screening on artearchive.org through June 9-18, 2023, featuring Sada [regroup] as well as a selection of documentary works created by students of the Baghdad-based Independent Film & Television College co-founded in 2004 by Maysoon Pachachi and Kasim Abid. For more information on the online screening go to artearchive.org.
Sajjad Abbas, Ali Eyal, Sarah Munaf, Rijin Sahakian, Bassim Al Shaker
2022, 54 minutes | In Arabic with English subtitles, and English with Arabic subtitles | Commissioned by documenta fifteen
From 2011-2015, Sada, an online and in person ad hoc art school, was set up in Baghdad to support artists working through the aftermath of US-led invasion and occupation. Nearly a decade later, former artists of Sada came together again, reflecting on their creative and disparate lives since that time. Artists Sajjad Abbas, Bassim Al Shaker, Ali Eyal, Sarah Munaf, and Rijin Sahakian each created video works, comprising one experimental, interconnected anthology film on individual and collective art practice in a protracted era of international warfare.
Using street footage, narrative, and documentary, Sajjad Abbas’s Water of Life tracks its filmmakers’ urge to forge protest that is bigger than himself, following monumental artwork, migration, and the return to place and protest. In Ali Eyal’s The Blue Ink Pocket, a mysterious letter from an artist is authored to communicate the futility of describing violence in full, its scattering of meaning, and the power it derives through its lesser understood perpetrators and permutations. In Journey Inside a City, shot in Iraq, Turkey, and Ukraine, Sarah Munaf layers her experience as a sculptor and as part of a threatened community of artists and residents in Baghdad, and, later, as a refugee finding her way in coastal Turkey as her parents navigate life in Ukraine. In Barbershop, stop-motion animation, cutout drawings, and first-person storytelling give shape to the artist Bassim Al Shaker’s memory of his own kidnapping and its impact on his personal and creative life in the years that followed. Taking moments from popular and political culture during the 1991 Iraq war and the second invasion of Iraq, Rijin Sahakian’s Anthem argues against the use of multinational warfare in its varying methodologies— from technology to the arts—to extinguish life.
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