Between May and November 2015, Invisible Beauty was shown at the National Pavilion of Iraq at the Venice Biennale, before being moved to the Museum for Contemporary Art in Ghent (S.M.A.K). Originally drawing more than 20,000 visitors, the exhibition is currently being re-staged in an 18th century merchant’s dwelling in Iraq’s Erbil Citadel. With records dating back to 2,300 BC, the Citadel made UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2014; Invisible Beauty will be the first international show in the space.
The show has been curated by Philippe Van Cauteren, S.M.A.K’s artistic director, who has reworked the exhibition to fit in with space, displaying the work on locally-made furniture. Open 19 January – 16 February 2017, Invisible Beauty features work from five contemporary artists across Iraq and the diaspora – Latif Al Ani, Akam Shex Hadi, Rabab Ghazoul, Salam Atta Sabri and Haider Jabbar – showcasing a mixture of photography, multimedia visual art, ceramics, sculptures and paintings.
The exhibition also displays more than 500 drawings created by refugees in the north of the country, a number of which feature in the 2015 book Traces of Survival: Drawings of Refugees in Iraq Selected by Ai Weiwei.
Invisible Beauty will be on show at the Erbil Citadel until 16 February 2017. For more information, visit the Ruya Foundation website.
Words by Angharad Jones. Images courtesy of the Ruya Foundation