Visiting Iraqi artist Sadik Kwaish AlFraji’s solo exhibition - March 2023

It was a pleasure visiting Iraqi artist Sadik Kwaish AlFraji’s solo exhibition “Those Houses Behind The Army Canal”, at Ayyam Gallery in Al-Serkkal Avenue, Dubai, UAE. It’s about the 2nd chapter of the “Books of Passage” project that recounts the migration of the artist’s family. This exhibition is specifically about his father’s generation.

It focuses on the move of his father among many from Southern Iraq to Baghdad but were forced to live in slums. Then, after 1958’s coup d’état, a plan to rehouse the displaced was announced and a new neighborhood was built behind the Army Canal which was called “Madinat Al-Thawra”. People had high hopes for a better life in this new neighborhood, but this hope soon washed out.

AlFraji honored his father life through a video he named “A Short Story In The Eyes of Hope”. He, also, recounts his own memories and imaginations as a child as depicted in his work “Blind Qasim and His Beautiful Buffalo” or the “Palm” he “created” for the laborers passing through Square 55 that he hoped was there to protect them from the heat of the sun. The highlight of the exhibition is summarized in a touching video at the end of the exhibition tour, called “Those Houses Behind The Army Canal”.