Border to Baghdad

Border to Baghdad

June 17—July 9, 2015

In 2013, Albuquerque-based artist Szu-Han Ho and Rijin Sahakian from SADA Contemporary Art Center in Baghdad, Iraq worked together to create an online exchange between a select group of artists from the US-Mexico border and from Iraq. Throughout the month of October of that year, the two groups interacted via Skype and social media to exchange information, images, and ideas through a series of artistic exercises developed and led by Ho and Sahakian. Gradually evolving over time, the results of this interchange provides a snapshot of emerging artists working in two distant, urban deserts.

The project was designed around the idea of “the score” as a medium for exchange, borrowing from the work of John Cage, Fluxus, Yoko Ono, and others. Each group developed a score—or set of instructions for making an artwork—for the other side, then performed the score that was received, and shared the results online. These results form part of the exhibition on view from November 22—Dec 20, 2013 in the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts Project Space.

Collaborating Artists
SADA: Sejjad Abbas, Al Karrar Abdul Sattar, Taha Al Azzawy, Rawan Al Mukhtar, Akram Assam, Laith K. Daer, Ali Eyal, Firas Fadhil, Raed Motar, Sarah Munaf
UTEP: Luca Alvarez, Gabriela Carballo, Esteban Marquez, Harry Sanchez Jr., Nicolas Silva

The archive of the posts shared among the artists over the course of the exchange is available online.

STANLEE AND GERALD RUBIN CENTER FOR THE VISUAL ARTS at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) is committed to excellence in the exhibition of contemporary art that encourages adventuresome thinking and dialogue. Located at the epicenter of the Americas, they serve as a laboratory for emerging artists and innovative practitioners, providing access for an audience of multiple and diverse communities.

SADA (Echo) is a non-profit project supporting new and emerging arts practices through education initiatives in Iraq and public programs internationally. SADA’s long-term vision seeks to expand artistic possibilities and promote critical investigations through the support of new works, education programs, documentation and research. In April 2015, SADA suspended programming in light of increasing violence and continued instability in Baghdad.

Border to Baghdad is presented in conjunction with Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, an exhibition of artists’ books, prints and broadsides commissioned in response to the 2007 bombing of Baghdad’s book-selling district. Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here runs June 17—September 30 at the Hampshire College Art Gallery.