Iraq Shines at The Festival of Nations

Written on June 8, 2015, by

 

Click any image to view larger. All images by Sarah Kanan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IARP 2014 Annual Report | Thank You 2014 Donors!

Written on April 25, 2015, by

Screen shot 2015-04-24 at 9.35.57 PM

IARP is pleased to share our 2014 Annual Report. To download the full report, click here:

IARP_2014_Report

We would like to recognize and sincerely thank our 2014 donors. We are grateful for your support!

Albuquerque Mennonite
Monica Allen
Amazon Smile
Anonymous
Chris Babcock
Teresa Barrett
Benevity
Elizabeth & Forrest Bentley
Bill Berneking
David Bicking
John and Marie Braun
Beverly Caruso
Winston Cavert
Steve & Christine Clemens
Cory Doan
Virginia Druhe
Anne Dykstra
Robert Edelstein
Nick & Nancy Eltgroth
Catherine Fasy
Federal Group LLC
Barbara Gerten
M. Giese
Ken & Mary Gleason
Jeff & Karin Grosscup
Philip & Joan Haan
Walt Handschin
Michelle Harris
Kate Havelin
Nancy Hensel
Fletcher & Joan Hinds
Aaron Hughes
Barbara Huning
Mary Hunt
Nausheena Hussain
Jeremy Iggers & Carol Bouska
Susu Jeffrey
Robert Johnson
Deborah Kalin
Thomas Lange
Joanna Lees
Daniel Leisen & Andi Kuenning
David Logsdon
Chuck & Bertha Lutz
Laurie Lykken
Joyce Lyon
Polly Mann
Lotti Matkovits
Marsha McDonald & Amos Rosenbloom
Kathy McKay
Christopher Meyer & Ruth Adix
Network for Good – Google
Luanne Nyberg
Patricia Owen
Rodney Olsen
Joseph Palen
Angelo Percich
Paul Perkal
Theresa Pick
Karen Osborne Pope
Jane Powers
Mark & Linda Raderstorf
Pat & Narmin Ralston
Ann Ricketts
Carroll & Ann Rock
Shylan Rose
Michael Rozumalski
Phil Runkel
Carole Rydberg
Deborah Schuster
Kathleen Seestadt
Lynn Shoemaker
Linda Slabon
St. Augustine’s Catholic Church
Terre Sullivan
Hannah Summerfelt
Joyce Traver
Larry Valley
John (Skip) Valusek
Robert Wedl
Lorraine Welch
Luke Wilcox
Carol Witte
Catherine Yamoor

***for any changes or omissions, please contact kathy@reconciliationproject.org***

IARP at the Festival of Nations | April 30

Written on April 20, 2015, by

11109248_882018045177697_699767580915163567_o

EXCLUSIVELY!! And for the first time at the Minnesota Festival of nations… Iraq will be represented amongst global cultures and languages.

Please join us in celebrating Iraqi culture and art at the Saint Paul RiverCentre between April 30th and May3rd, 2015.

We will be providing additional information on the exact location of our booth within the EXHIBIT section of the festival.

IARP is very excited and looks forward to seeing you all there!!

More details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/432874420212615/

Celebrate 10 Years of Traveling Canvas: April 16

Written on April 15, 2015, by

Women-2

Pictured here… one of the most memorable pieces from the IARP Iraqi art collection, “Portrait of a Young Iraqi Woman” by Ali Ghassan. 10 years ago, a project was initiated by a group of volunteers to carry Iraqi artworks, rolled and folded, in suitcases from Najaf to Minneapolis. The canvases were stretched and unstretched, showing wear as they traveled. They served as a connection point for Iraqis and Minnesotans in the midst of war and confusion. Despite its humble beginnings, the project initiated IARP’s Iraqi Art Project program, a platform which went on to provide opportunities for the development of major exhibitions, touring exhibitions, video projects and cross-cultural dialogues.

We would like to invite you to join us for a special evening celebrating 10 years of the traveling canvases, cultural exchange, art and stories…

 

EVENT DETAILS:
Date: Thursday, April 16
Time: 6pm-8pm

Location: IARP Office. 416 E. Hennepin Ave, Suite 116, Minneapolis 55414

Join us for conversation and refreshments. Browse the art collection and visit the IARP office. Art works will be available for purchase. Hear stories and memories of the art project’s beginnings from the original volunteers. Remarks from Sami Rasouli.
Please RSVP via email. Guests are welcome:

 

The Viral Effect

Written on April 6, 2015, by

The Iraqi Voices project was initiated and executed in the hopes that the stories would be shared and widely viewed. We enjoyed quite a bit of local exposure with the project, but a couple of weeks ago a surprise effect occurred online, Sarah Kanan’s 3 minute film for Iraqi Voices. “Torn Between” went VIRAL! A large website in Baghdad and a US-Iraq site both picked up the video and the response was immense. The film was viewed in one weekend by over 50,000 people. Sarah was overwhelmed by the outpouring of comments and emotions. Below, she translates and shares with us some of her favorite comments from online viewers:

عاشت ايدج على هذا الفيلم المعبر والمؤثر نتمنى لك العوده لموطنك الأصلي رغم كل الجراحات والدموع والماساة يبقى الوطن عزيز وهو يجمعنا ويغمرنا بمحبته

Bless your soul for this expressive and influential film. I wish you return to your original country of origin… despite all the pain and tears and tragedies, Iraq remains dear in our hearts…it embraces us with love and keeps us together.

 

ساره تعالي بعد ميتحسن الوضع لان ماريد هذا الجمال الي راسمته ببالج عن الوطن والحب يتلاشه

Sarah, Come back to Iraq when the conditions improve because I don’t want this beautiful picture you’ve drawn in your head about your home country and love to be destroyed.

كلامها عين العقل والفلم جميل. وماكو احد ميحب وطنه. لكن الظروف هي الي جبرته ان يترك وطنه ويعيش بالغربة. لان في العراق كثير من الظروف الي تجبر الشخص ان يترك وطنه ويتغرب ليعيش بأمان وسلام

Her words and the Film are very reasonable and legit…there is no one that doesn’t love their country of origin. However the circumstances are what forced us to leave the homeland and live in exile because in Iraq many of the conditions force the person to leave their motherland and fine refuge in a foreign place in order to live in safety and peace.

 

فهموني أهلي وآني صغيرة..أن الوطن أم…وكيف اترك أمي وهي مريضه ينهش بيه المرض..أبقى اعالجه واعيش بحضنها اﻻ ان يشاء ربي وتتعافى..والي طلع وهاجر معذور.. ناس تهددو وحاربوهم برزقهم..لكن الي عايش ومحد يمه ليش يعوف أمه..؟

When I was little, my parents taught me that your country of origin is like a mother…and how can I leave my mother when she is sick and being eroded by illness…I stay to treat her and live her chest and pray to god that she gets better….and the ones that left are excused…some were threatened and were attacked for their welfare. But those that lived in Iraq and were not attacked or threatened…why did they leave their mother?

 

حلو حلو طريقة نقله ﻷحساسه النفسي وصراحته مع ذاته… فلم قصير لكن بي معاني كبيرة ..

Beautiful the way she expressed her psychological emotion and her sense of frankness…a very short film with very big meanings.

الفيلم جميل جدا من حيث التصوير والاخراج ، و ساره كانت فنانة رائعة جسدت الفكرة وادت الرسالة التي تريد ابلاغها من خلال الفيلم حول الغربة والاغتراب ، مايطرحه الفيلم لا يمثل مشكلة ساره فقط ،، انا ايضا عراقي و اعيش في العراق و احمل ثقافتين ايضا ، ثقافة المجتمع العراقي و ثقافة حالمة تولدت في ذهني من خلال قراءتي مفادها ان المجتمعات الغربية تمثل حياة وردية واعدة بمزيد من الحرية . لذا انا ايضا اشعر بالاغتراب حتى وان كنت اعيش في بلدي ، لاني لا املك اي فرصة كي اطرح ارائي بخصوص موضوعات كالدين والسياسة و الحرية الفردية وحقوق المراة فهذه الامور خطوط حمراء غير مسموح بتناولها ومناقشتها في العراق لذا اجد نفسي مغتربا في بلدي ومجتمعي . المشكلة الاكبر هي ان ساره اذا عادت للعراق ربما ستعيش اغترابا اقسى وامر وستعاني كونها تحمل ثقافة غربية مكتسبة ،سارة تحلم بان تعود للعيش في عراق امن ، لكن العراق ليس امنا ، انه بلد تمزقه الصراعات ، وستفتقد ساره فسحة الحرية التي كانت تتمتع بها في اميركا ، في النهاية سارة تعاني ، والكثيرون يعانون مثل سارة ، سارة تحلم ونحن نحلم ، و لابد لنا ان نحلم لان الاحلام تبقى على الامل حيا في النفوس ، والحياة غير ممكنة بدون احلام

Very nice movie in terms of photography and directing, and Sarah was a wonderful artist embodied the idea and portrayed the message she wanted to communicate about alienation and estrangement, the issue presented in the film is not her issue alone, I am also an Iraqi and live in Iraq and carry two cultures….a culture of the Iraqi community and dreamy culture created in my mind through observation of the Western societies which represent a rosy and promising life with more freedom. So I also feel alienated even though I live in my country, because I do not have any opportunity to voice my opinions about topics like religion and politics and individual freedom and women’s rights….such things are red lines that cannot be discussed in Iraq, so I find myself as an expats in my own society and country. The bigger problem is that if Sarah returned to Iraq, she will probably live a much bitter alienation and will suffer because she carries a Western culture acquired over time. Sarah dreams of returning to live in a secure Iraq, but Iraq is not safe, it’s a country torn by conflict, and she will lose her basic freedom which she is enjoying in America…and at the end Sarah still suffers…and many suffer like Sarah, Sarah dreams and we dream, and we must be dream because dreams keep the hope alive in our soul for a better future, and life is not possible without dreams.

ربي يعودكم لدياركم ان شاء الله ينتصر العراق ويكون احلى واحسن من اي وقت وتتصافى القلوب

May God return you to your homes. God willing Iraq will triumph and become sweeter and better than ever and all of the hearts will become pure and unite regardless of differences.

الغربة احساس هذا ……كمامة لابس وانت وردة تشتم من شايف

You know when you smell a rose and you’re wearing a muzzle…that’s what it feels like to live in alienations.

وكفني وعرسي مولدي العراق

جنه بالعراق كل مرض مابينه بس وصلنه للغربه طلعت علينه الأمراض

Iraq is my birth and my wedding and my shroud. When we were in Iraq we were free of illnesses, and the moment we arrived to exile all kinds of illness began showing.

IARP Celebrates the Art Program’s Ten-Year Anniversary at the Susan Hensel Gallery!

Written on March 9, 2015, by

IARPatSH

IARP celebrates the art program’s ten-year anniversary at the Susan Hensel Gallery!

Just kitty-corner from the famous Matt’s bar in South Minneapolis, the Susan Hensel Window Gallery will be presenting art works from IARP’s collection of paintings by Karbala and Najaf artists for the month of March.

Working artist, Susan Hensel, known for her practice in combining feminism, community and craft, has set up shop at the corner of 34th and Cedar. Since it’s opening in 2013, the gallery has hosted five to six exhibits each year bringing art, beauty and a sense of place to the community. It is our great honor to be a presenting here this year!

You will notice that the artworks on display are un-stretched and unframed. The decision to present them in this way was made in order to tell a story about the paintings that first came to IARP and began the Iraqi Art Project ten years ago.

Since 2005 trained, professional artists have sent their work to IARP in hopes of gaining exposure in the United States and communicating what it means to be Iraqi. Over the years these artists have been shown in over fifty galleries and public spaces. IARP’s art program has grown and now includes a documentary video series, a bookmaking program and has developed several curated exhibits that have toured the country. As we approach the ten-year mark since the Iraqi Art Program began we believe that it is only appropriate to highlight some of these paintings and to take a look back upon our humble beginnings. Today we invite you to enjoy a sampling from our collection.”

See these works for yourself!

March 5th until April15th.

Susan Hensel Gallery. 3441 Cedar Avenue South 55407.

 

 

Iraqi Voices / Recap and Touring Option!

Written on March 9, 2015, by

DSC_0125
DSC_0069
Our Iraqi Voices project has been a nine-month process of working with 8 local Iraqis and their families in the development of short documentaries in which they tell Minnesotans a part of their story. The dissolution of their home life as they knew it is one aspect of the “collateral damage” we can hear about in hopes of helping to shoulder their grief.

Six videos, which premiered last year at the Mizna film festival and Macalester College, are now available for viewing online. We are also pursuing the screenings of the films by other groups both inside and outside of Minnesota, providing an avenue for long-time Minnesotans to become better acquainted with our new Iraqi neighbors.

We enjoyed great publicity and positive response to Nathan Fisher’s Iraqi Voices project, however, the work is far from done. We would like to see these incredible short films shared as broadly as possible. The more awareness they raise, the more understanding we can encourage for our Iraqi friends. IARP is able to accommodate travel for the director, some filmmakers and other IARP representatives to speak about the films along with a screening. If you are interested in hosting or supporting a screening of Iraqi Voices in your community, please contact:   Kathy McKay:  kathy@reconciliationproject.org
*photos above by Marisa McGinty

Thoughts from Board Member, Steve Clemens… On Not Seeing American Sniper Movie

Written on November 22, 2014, by

Steve-headshot

 

 

 

Thoughts from Board Member, Steve Clemens… On NOT Seeing American Sniper Movie

I have chosen not to see Clint Eastwood’s new “blockbuster” film, American Sniper, for several reasons: I don’t wish to add to the sales figures which continue to make it the #1 movie at the box office for 3 weeks running; I rarely spend $6-12 for a first-run movie, waiting until it comes to my local neighborhood theater for $2 senior rate; but, more importantly, what this movie symbolizes to my Iraqi friends.

When I traveled back to Iraq for the first time since going to Baghdad in December of 2002 as part of a Peace Team, the people I met in Najaf, Karbala, and Babil (Babylon) in November of 2012 were happy to greet an unarmed American – and they told us so. Unarmed, coming not to conquer nor correct but rather to connect and communicate face-to-face. Not looking through the scope of a rifle for potential targets but rather mingling with the masses in the souk, at the Shrines to their revered ancestors and leaders, and at the universities and grade schools. Looking there, instead of finding “insurgents” I found inquisitive people eager to engage me as a potential friend and partner.

Yes, I must admit I also encountered some bitterness and disgust at what some had felt was directly linked to the American invasion and the long military “occupation” which followed. Some of my Iraqi friends think many of the corrupt and ineffectual politicians now running their nation were put in place or funded by – or at least took advantage of the chaos created by – the American military intervention. Many of my Iraqi friends, while having no love lost for the departure of Saddam Hussein, see the present conflict arising between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims as being a result of a divide-and-conquer strategy by America and it’s principal ally, Israel.

So a U.S. movie which doesn’t bother to take the time to explain WHY a patriotic Iraqi might become an “insurgent” to fight against a foreign invader trying to put in place a government in his/her own nation – but instead has as its flawed “hero” someone whose autobiography calls all Iraqis “savages” … Well it isn’t hard to connect the dots to see how American Sniper will not help us work for the needed reconciliation between Iraqis and Americans.

Ironically, all the controversy surrounding this movie might serve as a good reminder to Americans that all too often wants to “move on” to the next event-of-the-day (or week or month) that those on the receiving end of the American Empire don’t have the luxury of moving on when infrastructure and relationships remain tattered and broken for most of our Iraqi friends.

Posted by Steve Clemens

Iraqi Voices Premiere Event @ Macalester College

Written on November 19, 2014, by

 

You are invited to join us for a premiere event, a screening of 6 short films and discussion with the filmmakers.
Dessert and Coffee reception to follow.

When: Tues. December 2, 2014, 7:00 pm
Where: Macalester College, 1600 Grand Ave, St Paul, 55105 / Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center, Lower Level

Iraqi Voices is an ongoing collaborative mentorship program that gives Iraqis in Minnesota support and training to transform their stories into high-quality documentary video shorts. The films are written and directed by Iraqi-American participants and are photographed and edited by Nathan Fisher.

Hosted by the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project in partnership with MacHOPE (Macalester Helping Open Peaceful Exchange).

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Event is free; donations welcomed.

More info… join our Facebook Event Page here.

 

 

Quick Link to GIVE TO THE MAX

Written on November 12, 2014, by

Looking for IARP on Give to the Max Day?

Click the image above to link to our page…

Thank you for your support.