A grave in watercolours, a tribute on paper
Exhibition Haider Jabbar
Pedrami Gallery, Antwerp
Iraqi visual artist Haider Jabbar paints the horrors of war with a softness befitting a respectful memento. In the Antwerp Pedrami Gallery he presents a selection of portraits - showing only heads - from an impressive series, parts of which were shown previously on the Venice Biennale and in S.M.A.K.
In 2014, ISIS raided a training camp of military students in Tikrit, Iraq. The extremists decapitated 1,700 young men. The event sent a shock wave across the country. Young artist Haider Jabbar, who lost a friend in the massacre, was also severely affected. For him it was the final straw that made him decide to leave his country. He moved to Turkey, where he started a series of portraits called "Cases". His goal was to paint 1,700 heads, meant as symbolic graves in tribute to each of the murdered students. "I made about 900," Jabbar explains. After that he could not possibly go on anymore. The artist had not seen the murders with his own eyes, but in his imagination they mixed with the dead he had indeed encountered in the streets of Baghdad and with the dismay he saw in the expressions of the living. That way he was able to give the 1,700 young people a face. "After so many hundreds of portraits, I got nightmares. They surrounded me and I heard their voices. I had to put an end to it."
"The imagination of the artist gave
the 1,700 murdered students a face"
Visual artist and art director Haider Jabbar (° 1986) studied Fine Arts at the University of Baghdad. In 2015 he presented his work in the Iraqi pavilion at the Venice Biennale. He subsequently had several exhibitions in Belgium (including in Zoersel, Antwerp, S.M.A.K. in Ghent, Bruthaus Gallery in Waregem ). Currently, he is studying to obtain an additional Master's at KASK in Ghent. He lives and works in Brussels.
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