Portfolio > A People's Tribunal: 28 Exhibits, 2019

A People’s Tribunal: 28 Exhibits
October 19, 2019, 4-6PM
Twelve Gates Arts, 106 N. 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
This is an intimate event with limited seating. Please RSVP to heklerke@gmail.com.

Performers: Amina Ahmed, Dena Al-Adeeb, Fadaa Ali, Yaroub Al-Obaidi, Nada El-Kouny, Hatif Farhan, Kazem Ghouchani, Maryam Jahanbin, Luma Jasim, Mohammed Okab, Hussein Smko

Organizers: Dena Al-Adeeb, Shimrit Lee, Nataša Prljević, Farideh Sakhaeifar

28 Exhibits is a performative tribunal that brings together a group of artists, activists, and scholars to account for the impact of global counterinsurgency doctrine. With storytelling, installation, and song as "evidence," the tribunal interrogates the rhetoric that has fueled the lasting trauma of the U.S. War in Iraq, while building a collective archive that fosters alternative spaces of restitution for evaluating the war on terror.

Our starting point is Twenty-Eight Articles, a 2006 paper written by Australian strategist David Kilcullen used to advise General David Petraeus, who helped design the Iraq War troop surge. The “Twenty-Eight Articles”, a nod to T.E. Lawrence’s “twenty-seven articles” on tribal desert warfare from 1917, describes counterinsurgency as “armed social work,” and urges the modern counter-insurgent to “engage the women, beware the children,” “know the turf,” “remember the global audience,” and above all, “keep the initiative.” The document was later formalized as an appendix to the FM 3-24, the U.S. military’s counterinsurgency doctrine, and has been in use by U.S., British, Canadian, Dutch, Iraqi and Afghan armies as a training document. 28 Exhibits will be set up like a trial, in which excerpts of Kilcullen's articles will be critically evaluated through artistic intervention.

28 Exhibits is an extension of Clear-Hold-Build, an exhibit currently on view in Philadelphia's Twelve Gates Arts, which brings together artists to survey the impact of counterinsurgency over the past seven decades. Clear-Hold-Build is curated by Shimrit Lee, Joshua Nierodzinski and Nataša Prljević of HEKLER, an artist-run collaborative platform that fosters critical examination of hospitality and conflict. The event 28 Exhibits is the product of a collaboration between HEKLER and exhibiting artists Dena Al-Adeeb and Farideh Sakhaeifer.

Photo credit: Twelve Gates Arts and Sahar Irshad.

Special thanks to Jelena Prljević, Sadra Shabab, and Maryam Ghoreishi for their support and work on A People’s Tribunal: 28 Exhibits.

Amina Ahmed, born in East Africa and of Kutchi-Indian Turkic heritage, grew up in England and has lived in Iran and the USA. She specialized in Islamic and Traditional Arts at The Royal College of Art. The practice of geometry grounds her drawings. Selected exhibitions: include Nottingham Contemporary and the ShowRoom, London, Queens Museum, Alwan for the Arts, NYC, Clark House Initiative, Lakeeran Gallery, The Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai,Twelve Gates Gallery and The Fiber Philadelphia’s International Biennial .

Dena Al-Adeeb is an artist-scholar-activist born in Baghdad, Iraq. Dena creates performative, relational works, dedicated to participatory art, socially engaged projects, and collaborative engagements. Dena is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the American Studies Department at the University of California, Davis. She received her Ph.D. in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Culture and Representation track, from New York University. She has been a resident artist at Light Work and Mana Contemporary and a recipient of numerous awards including the Knight Foundation and Kenneth Rainin Foundation. Dena’s work has been exhibited internationally, and her writing has appeared in a diversity of publications.

Fadaa Ali is an Iraqi-American artist that lives in Philadelphia. She was born in Baghdad, Iraq. After the war on Iraq she moved to Jordan in 2004 where she lived for 5 years until her move to the United States.In her own words: “An American woman of Iraqi origin, since my childhood I have an art talent, but I haven’t had a chance to develop it. My studies were far from art, where I studied to be a pharmacy technician when I came to America. Luckily I had the opportunity to work in art in Philadelphia with Penn Museum and Radio Silence with Mural Arts Project. I have the talents to work with antiques and integrate colors to give a different scenery.”

Yaroub Al Obaidi is a socially-engaged Iraqi-born artist, based in Philadelphia since 2016. He is a designer, research, and author. He holds a master’s degree in design from the College of Fine Arts in Baghdad, where he also served as a lecturer from 2004 to 2007, and a second master’s in socially engaged art from Moore College of Arts and Design in Philadelphia. He has participated in artist Michael Rakowitz’s Radio Silence podcast project, Swarthmore College’s Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary project, and Warrior Writers. He is currently a global guide and international speaker at Penn Museum.

Nada El-Kouny is a former Egyptian journalist, current film producer for animated documentaries, and PhD candidate in cultural anthropology at Rutgers University whose work investigates the role of infrastructure in citizenship-claiming and state-making in rural Egypt, through a joint ethnographic and historical lens.

Hatif Farhan is an Iraqi writer and photographer, based in Baghdad, Iraq. Farhan was awarded the creativity photography award in 2015 from The Eyes of Culture and Arts Foundation. His photos have been published in a number of Arabic magazines and books. Hatif’s work explores the impact of time on history, and gives special attention to marginalized people and those displaced by war and crisis.

Kazem Ghouchani is a Development and Marketing professional with over 4 years of experience in community building and cultural programming. Kazem holds an MBA from Hult International Business School with a passion for developing cultural programs for grassroots initiatives and communities. Promoting social justice has always been a driving force that has pushed them to look for ways to use art as a medium to build diverse communities. As a queer athiest from Tehran, Kazem currently serves as a Development Manager of Emruz Festival and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.

Maryam Jahanbin is situated in America, as an immigrant of Kutchi-Iranian heritage, born in the UK. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College in Religion with a concentration in Ethics, Society, and Representation.

Luma Jasim is an interdisciplinary Iraqi-born artist based in Brooklyn, NY, and Boise, ID. Jasim left Iraq three years after the invasion, and lived in Istanbul, Turkey before immigrating to the United States. Jasim's art deals with war, violence, and her experiences with immigration and acculturation. In her artwork, she uses the personal to address the political and activate the viewer's curiosity. She often reconstructs her memories, traumas, and thoughts on displacement, belonging, and strangeness in various mediums, including mixed media painting, performance, video, and animation.

Mohamed Okab was born in the city of Ur in Iraq, known today as Dhi Qar, in 1953. He grew up in Baghdad, where he finished high school and worked as a bookseller in the cultural and literary heart of the city. He also began painting, a skill which he still uses to transmit his views into visual artwork. In 2013, he was admitted to the U.S. as a refugee, and became a citizen in 2019.

Hussein Smko is a self-trained dancer and choreographer of Arab/Kurdish roots who was spotted by the Battery Dance Company through social media in 2014. Trained via Skype, Smko emigrated to the United States in 2016 and began his residency with Battery Dance as the first recipient of the Adel Euro Campaign for Dancers Seeking Refuge (2017). Since then he has performed at the Battery Dance Festival and as part of the company's residency with the Fort Wayne Dance Collective. He has taught for Battery Dance in New York City public schools, at the New York Public Library, and at USC in Los Angeles, for a Spoken Word and Dance program with Iraqi journalist Riyadh Mohammed.