“Welcome to Iraq” The National Pavilion of Iraq
55th Venice Biennale, The National Pavilion of Iraq Today's pick is The Pavilion of Iraq- a group exhibition curated by Jonathan Watkins with work by eleven contemporary Iraqi artists. "The exhibition is at Ca' Dandolo, a 16th century building that has not been used as a pavilion before during a Venice Biennale. It insinuates Iraq into this first floor apartment, creating a salon atmosphere and interactive space where visitors can sit, read and learn about Iraqi culture and drink tea." Setting the stage, one of the first pieces is the series of sadly ironic photographs Saddam is Here. Even though the exhibition is scraping away the residue of war the love flows. Each and every item in the space, the rugs, pillows, napkins, furniture, paintings, reading material, video works, cardboard outfitted bedroom and food items seemed to be curated especially for the apartment. I had tea and a small cake with a man in the kitchen. He sat with me and we spoke haltingly in English, Italian and French. A few cardboard household items (a sink and family photo0 by the collaborative WAMI (Yassen Wami and Hashim Taeeh) sit opposite the working sink.