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“Recycling”: Exhibition Criticises Political Reality In Iraq


Mahmood Abdullah – Baghdad – Yalla


Artist Ziyad Jasam talks to Yalla about his exhibition “Recycling”.


Jasam’s work reflects on Iraq’s ills by pointing an accusatory finger at the unchanging group of individuals that have been running the country and occupying positions of power. Going round in circles like this has an adverse effect on all aspects of life in Iraq, the inspiration for the title of his exhibition – a recycling of the same, failed ideas. He wants the audience to believe that a way will be found to enlighten and reform future generations.

Jasam told Yalla,

“Recycling has been an active process in the Iraqi political scene since 2003 and I’ve made it the theme of the exhibition. I developed the idea and carried out the work, I took advantage of the known brandings that are stamped on most goods suitable for recycling and turned them into plastic artwork. I used different products made of plastic, metal, and other objects used in our daily lives,” Jasam said.

“It’s known that recycled material loses many of its characteristics and its quality reduces over time. Here I tried to link the recycling of goods to the recycling of politicians in Iraq as the situations of politics, economy, public service, etc. have continuously worsened for 13 years are linked to the politicians’ weaknesses and incompetence.

“Despite this, we surprisingly see the same faces, individuals, groups and parties in every election – recycling. We also have an idea that questions this situation, because if whatever is recycled is reduced in quality, what happens when the recycled individual didn’t have any competence before they were recycled?”

The diverse exhibition features paintings and installations. A large red recycling symbol, made of wood and three chairs in their original sizes, represents political recycling evocative of musical chairs.

A circle, complete with cutouts, turns slowly clockwise revealing prints of the less palatable reality of Iraq’s situation – explosions, the deterioration of public services, immigration.

Jasam’s final installation is a bingo caller’s basket, which members of the audience are encouraged to turn. The 328 balls each represent a personality, explaining previous and perhaps future elections.

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