Jamal Penjweny: Saddam is Here
An exhibition of photography and film by Iraqi artist Jamal Penjweny that reflects on everyday life in Iraq today.
Born in Sulaimaniya in Iraqi Kurdistan, Penjweny first began taking photographs as a young shepherd. His starting point is often a simple idea or action that goes on to prompt a wider conversation. Whether persuading someone to hold an image of Saddam Hussein over their face, to jump for joy, or drawing a line across the necks of men to indicate where religious censorship begins, the actions are simple, but utterly effective.
Alongside Jamal Penjweny’s photography, we show two films that poignantly reveal the everyday reality of life in Iraq as alcohol is smuggled across the Iran/Iraq border and weaponry is obtained with casual ease from a market stall.
Now a café proprietor as well as an artist, Penjweny continues to live where many of his artworks are made, offering us an extraordinary condensed portrait of the life in Iraq today.
Penjweny’s work has been the subject of international attention following inclusion in Welcome to Iraq, the Iraqi Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale and a solo show at Ikon, both curated by Jonathan Watkins.
An Ikon touring exhibition.
Photos: Douglas Atfield