Opening Reception: Thursday, May 22nd, 2008, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

New York; May 1st, 2008: The Pomegranate Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition “Oil on Landscape: Art from Wartime Contemporaries of Baghdad” from May 24th through June 21st, 2008.
Also on view: contemporary Iraqi art from the gallery collection.

From 2006 to 2007, a military liaison officer in the U.S. Embassy of Baghdad worked on the sidelines to develop relations with the artists of Baghdad. Under extremely unlikely circumstances, several of Baghdad’s artists trusted this military officer to share their art with the world. The scope of the exhibition includes works on Iraqi refugees, the children of war, genocide, and an Iraqi perspective on Shock and Awe.

Mohammed [Hussein] al Hamdany: Mohammed is the brother of a cabinet minister murdered by Saddam Hussein. While he had good reasons to celebrate the fall of Saddam, Mohammed’s life and art reveal far more complex issues than the mere jubilation of liberation. Mohammed’s unprecedented 25-painting series on the Night of Fire recounts the cathartic experience of Shock and Awe and the fall of Saddam from a truly unique Iraqi perspective. Babylon International Art Festival, 1998-2002, Amman International Art Exhibition, 2006

Khudayer al Shakarji: Born in Bakouba in 1937, Koudair al Shakrji earned degrees at both the Institute of Fine arts and the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad. After decades of exhibitions at home and abroad, Shakrji settled in Baghdad, teaching drawing at the Institute for Fine Arts. Shakarji died of natural causes in Baghdad, 2006.

Sadik Jaffar: The nom de guerre, Sadik, means, “one who sees the truth.” Sadik Jaffar not only sees the truth, but captures it on paper through his uncannily expressive hand. Even in close proximity to the original pieces, it is difficult to discern that these works are not photographs, but, in fact, drawings.

Ahmed Nousaife: Born in 1967 in Baghdad. Obtained a fine arts degree form the College of Fine Arts, Baghdad, 1992.

Sat’aar Darweesh: Born in 1967 in Baghdad. Fine Arts degree at College of FIne Arts, Baghdad. Member of Al Jama’a al Funun al Bassariyah Featured in Art Contemporain en Irak, France, 2004.

Oded Halahmy, an Iraqi American sculptor and thirty-seven year resident of SoHo founded the Pomegranate Gallery as a catalyst for international artistic dialogue. “As an artist born in Baghdad, it is very exciting for me to bring works by contemporary Iraqi artists to New York City,” explains Halahmy. As an artist whose modernist sculptures appear in the Guggenheim, the Hirschhorn, and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Halahmy offers compelling reasons and uncanny ability to introduce Americans to serious artistic initiatives from the Middle East. “Americans are becoming increasingly international in their art collecting.” But Halahmy also hopes that his gallery “will serve as a cultural ambassador to awaken American consciousness of Middle Eastern Art.” Baghdad, the cradle of civilization, has historically been viewed as the cultural capitol of the Middle East and primary innovator in the fine arts. The fact that the artists of Baghdad continued to create at the height of the insurgency is nothing short of astounding.

Future exhibitions will continue to feature innovative contemporary art from all of the countries of the Middle East. In addition to contemporary visual art, he has featured readings by authors and poets, as well as musical performances, dance and film. “Although we are all from different ethnic groups, our objective is to encourage all forms of art as an effective long-term means of fostering the peace dialogue. If we all recognize that the arts can be a powerful unifier of disparate cultures, the chance for peace in Iraq, the Middle East, and around the world will be greatly enhanced,” says Halahmy.

Also on view: contemporary Iraqi art from the gallery collection. Catalogue available.

The gallery is supported in part by the Oded Halahmy Foundation for the Arts, a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural organization created to fund original artistic expressions that will promote a greater cultural understanding of the Middle East, thereby fostering peace and hope around the world. The Foundation has already supported a number of Middle Eastern writers and poets by bringing their translated books to the American audience.

On view from June 24th through August: A summer group exhibition of contemporary Iraqi art from the Gallery collection. Catalogue available. Gallery is open by appointment only during July and August; please call or e-mail to schedule an appointment.

Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
133 Greene Street
NY, NY 10012