ArtRole is a UK-based contemporary arts
organisation developing international
culture exchanges with the Middle East.

Cultural Exchange, UK – Kurdistan- Iraq

ArtRole is running a cultural exchange programme between UK and Kurdistan-Iraq, developed in three phases:

Phase 1:Kurdish Contemporary Art and Culture from Iraq
Phase 2
:British and American contemporary artists visiting Kurdistan/ Iraq
Phase 3
:Exhibitions, residencies and talks

Funded and supported by:
British Council
Arts Council England (Yorkshire)
Foreign and Commonwealth Office

and in collaboration with the Kurdistan-UK Friendship Association

Through this programme, ArtRole hopes to help to build mutual understanding and to develop links between both cultures and regions.

Knowledge in the UK of Kurdish culture and indeed the broader heritage of the Middle East is little known. This cultural exchange programme, comprising visits, lectures, presentations and exhibitions is one of the first opportunities for a UK audience and British artists to get introduced to Kurdish culture, as well as its contemporary art scene and to broaden their awareness of modern culture in Iraq away from the dominant reporting of conflict and deprivation. The project also provides the Kurdish-Iraqi artists, public and art institutions with extensive access to British culture and contemporary art, developing a better understanding.

Phase 1
• Kurdish Contemporary Art and Culture from Iraq
16th – 28th February 2007

A group of Kurdish artists (Wahby Rasul, Ali Raza, Sami Muemin, Man Ahmad Hamid from
Kurdistan- Iraq and Afan Sediq from Germany) were invited to the UK, to meet British audience and artists, visit relevant sites and institutions to research British culture and introduce Kurdish culture and the state of art in the region.

The events took place in London and Yorkshire between the 16th and the 28th of February at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Serpentine Gallery, Ferens Gallery, Life Arts Development Agency, Royal College of Art, Slade School of Art and SOAS.

Phase 2
• British and American contemporary artists visiting Kurdistan/ Iraq
October 2007

A similar programme with British and American artists traveling to Kurdistan/ Iraq is going to take place at the end of 2007. The selected artists are Anne Bean, Clare Charnley, Richard Wilson, Rob Gawthrop and Adalet R. Garmiany from the UK and Susan Meiselas from the USA. During this visit the artists will share aspects of Western contemporary art, with particular reference to current approaches of art education and the impact of new technologies.

Phase 3
• Exhibitions/ Residencies/ Talks

A touring exhibition of work from both regions, as well as work realised following the exchange visits will be developed for both the UK and Kurdistan/ Iraq in 2008/9. Through the exchange, resulting exhibitions, events and talks in the UK and Kurdistan/ Iraq, audiences and artists in both regions will experience contemporary work that will inevitably be different due to the cultural context from which it evolved.

47 Sykes Street
Hull HU2 8AZ
East Yorkshire


Adalet R. Garmiany (Director)

Rob Gawthrop

Justine Blau

Mark Terry