Jala Wahid Laments Man-Made Ruin in the Middle East, Rosalie Doubal, δημοσίευση Freize [12/12/2022]Marilena Pateraki
This pared-back installation has the feel of a deconstructed stage play. In place of actors, three new artworks perform a lament within a dramatically lit, maroon-painted set. Baba Gurgur (all works 2022), a monumental sculpture, holds centre stage. Naphtha Maqam, a sound work interlacing Kurdish melodies with English vocals, unfolds plot and song over the course of an hour, while the light work Sick Pink Sun (03:00 14.10.1927 –) illuminates the installation with its unchanging fuchsia spot. Set within an eternally burning fire – in a time that is at once past, present and future – the players of Jala Wahid’s epic ‘Conflagration’ keen the futility of destruction havocked in the interest of politics.
These works speak to the history of the oil industry in the Middle East, continuing the artist’s ongoing investigations into her Kurdish identity. Specifically, they witness the pernicious effects of Britain’s oil interests in the Kurdistan Region. Baba Gurgur is an incarnation of an oil gusher of the same name situated in Kirkuk, a region disputed between Federal Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. This work symbolizes a crucial moment in the relationship and ongoing conflicts between Britain, Kurdistan and Iraq. Its 1927 discovery sparked the creation of an immensely influential oil cartel that afforded Britain and other Western colonial states a monopoly over oil in the Middle East.
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