Lecture

Date: 
Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - 18:00 to 20:00
Location: 
The British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH

The Ark Re-imagined: Navigating Iraqi Cultural Heritage on the Edge of Extinction

Through the Ark Re-imagined project, the artist Rashad Salim and Safina Projects CIC ask what the Ark might have looked like if it was based on the watercraft heritage of Mesopotamia. Through reconstructing such an Ark, Rashad explores the endangered traditional boats of Iraq, documenting what remains of this ancient legacy: through boat-building workshops and river expeditions, oral history recordings, and finding clues in the archival stratum of knowledge now scattered around the world. Craft traditions using locally harvested materials play a central role as the interface between people and their environment, from which culture emerges and a uniquely Iraqi sensibility is revealed. 

Rashad Salim 

Rashad Salim is an Iraqi-German expeditionary artist and designer with a particular interest in the history and development of culture and technology. Scion of the Selim family of Iraqi artists, Rashad is an interdisciplinary cultural researcher who also studied at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad and Sain Martin's in London. In 1977-78, he took part in Thor Heyerdahl's Tigris expedition, travelling on a reed boat from Iraq to East Africa. He lived and worked in Morocco and Yemen where he helped found cultural associations, and was a trustee of iNCiA (the International Network for Contemporary Iraqi Artists) from 1998-2012. Rashad launched the Ark Re-imagined project in 2015 at Edge of Arabia, London with Culturunners, and began fieldwork in Iraq in 2016. Rashad established Safina Projects CIC in 2017 to deliver the Ark Re-imagined project and its programme of boat constructions, river journeys, research, artworks, events, and capacity-building outcomes for the Iraqi art/crafts and cultural heritage sector. 

Audio: 
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