NOTHING BUT BLUE
A COLLECTION OF RETROSPECTIVITY
oil on canvas 200 x 130 cm
Eyewitness is bringing to the forefront what stays taboo in a sectarian society after the invasion and numerous cycles of war and violent conflict. Working with what is present in underrepresented status quo: The adolescent body, born during the US waged invasion and that has never experienced a stable homeland: Looks into the uncertain future of a failed state. Witnessing an intimate dialogue that negotiates strategies of representation. Self-articulations beyond sectarianism or racialised images of young masculinities.
oil on canvas 140 x 90 cm
At the time Mukhtar (Mohammad Almukhtar) was 14 years old. This portrait evolved during another cycle of war in Iraq, on one
hand dealing with traumatic experiences of isolation and militarization. On the other hand opening space for resistance by questioning masculinity as during this time the terrorist organization Islamic State has already swept the country and occupied Mosul, Iraq's second largest city.
In the noise of war Rawan Almukhtar wanted to create a place beyond sectarian and colonial-racist pretence, through a counter- memory lens and perspective that relentlessly question representation and identity politics. What has materialized on canvas is an intimate place where one witnesses individual acts of resistance.
oil on canvas 160 x 90 cm
Re-experiencing of isolation and lacking infrastructure as a returning event. In FLESHBACK 2015 Rawan Almukhtar challenges the daily covers of US front pages with romantic images of military ordnance, "bomb explosions in the air" over the streets and houses of Baghdad. Also challenging idea of post-invasion masculinities during a new cycle of war and militarization. Depicting the male adolescent body unharmed, intimate, vulnerable and playful. Beyond racialised and hyper-masculinised notions, Rawan Almukhtar wanted to create a place beyond sectarian and colonial-racist pretence. An intimate place to witness a short glimpse of experiences of people born shortly after or during the invasion in 2003.
Nothing But Blue - A Collection in Retrospectivity is a collection that partly has traveled from Baghdad to Vienna. It reflects working conditions of Rawan Almukhtar one year before leaving Iraq and the process of seeking asylum in Vienna/Austria. The works give insight of the structural conditions in a country scattered by the occupation and wars, as well as the results of violent events of the post-occupation era. State sanctioned violence and the criminalisation of critical public discourse made Rawan Almukhtar reveal the inspiration and political intents of this collection years later, in retrospect. In this collection Rawan Almukhtar asks how (self-)representation and artistic expression can be practiced as a form of resistance, as a practice of counter-memory and as a form of being alive.