By Tricia Khutoretsky, IARP Curator
In early May, I took an overnight trip to Kimballton, Iowa on behalf of the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project to install a special exhibit for the New Century Art Guild. NCAG is a 501c(3) non-profit organization that promotes the growth of artistic culture and development of art-related careers in the Midwest, especially those of military veterans wishing to make new careers in visual art. The organization supports three buildings that feature over 4000 square feet of studio and gallery space located on the Main Street of Kimballton, Iowa.
The exhibit, titled “Unforgetting Iraq: In Search of Recovery” re-visits the Iraq War by looking at a selection of artworks created over the past 5-6 years by both American Veteran artists, American artists, Iraqi/American and Iraqi artists. The diverse group of artists represented in this exhibit form a narrative that speaks to our capacity as humans to overcome tragedy and devastating events. However, the artworks also speak to the deep wounds and unresolved realities of the war. There is evidence of positivity and forward motion, yet not without the nearby shadows of life-changing experience. Many of the artists have shown their works in IARP exhibits in the past including; Tamara Abdul Hadi, Sundus Abdul Hadi, Megan Rye, Aaron Hughes, Ayad Alkadhi, Jim Lommasson and Adnan Shati.
While Kimballton, Iowa is a relatively small town with a population of only 400-500 people… it is deeply connected to it’s Danish ancestry as Kimballton and neighboring Elk Horn and are the two largest rural Danish settlements in the United States. Every summer, on memorial day weekend over 5,000 people visit the area for the Annual Danish celebration known as Tivoli Fest with a parade, Danish folk dancers, Danish foods, unique gift shops, historical tours and much more. Our co-sponsored exhibit, “Unforgetting Iraq” just happens to be centrally located and will benefit from this added exposure and exploration of the area. Location and concept make for an interesting collaboration between NGAC and IARP over the summer with this special exhibit.
Stay posted for more images of the final exhibit in the coming months, writing on the exhibit themes and thoughts on the experience of curating this exhibit for the NCAG in Kimballton.