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About the exhibition

Carleton College Art Gallery (Gallery Location and Hours)
January 6 to February 12, 2006


“Dafatir” means notebook in Arabic. This exhibition highlights the flourishing book arts in modern day Iraq and celebrates the persistence of the artistic impulse in a nation troubled by tyranny and war. Curated by Nada Shabout, an Iraqi art historian who teaches at the University of North Texas, the exhibition presents works by seventeen Iraqi artists spanning three generations. Dafatir: Contemporary Iraqi Book Art draws on the collection of Dia al-Azzawi, an Iraqi artist based in London.

Modern artists have transformed the book into the “artists’ book,” a highly experimental format. Books, entwined with the reverence for Allah’s written word, hold a place of honor in Iraqi and Arabic art. Dafatir, presenting contemporary Iraqi art to American audiences, reflects both these impulses.


The artists in the exhibition, many now living in exile, include:

  • Dia al-Azzawi (UK)
  • Sadiq Kwaish Alfraji (Netherlands)
  • Ammar Dawod (Netherlands)
  • Mohammad Fakher (Iraq)
  • Ismail Fattah (Iraq, deceased September 2004)
  • Ghassan Gha’eb (Jordan)
  • Nedim Kufi (Netherlands)
  • Hana’ Malallah (Iraq)
  • Moaid Nama (Iraq, deceased November 2005)
  • Rafa al-Nasiri (Jordan)
  • Kareem Rissan (Iraq)
  • Mahmmud al-Obaidi (Iraq)
  • Ibrahim Rashied (Sweden)
  • Shakir Hassan Al Said (Iraq, deceased April 2004)
  • Mohammed al-Shammarey (Jordan)
  • Samar Usama (Jordan) and
  • Nazar Yahya (Jordan)

All are represented in the collection of the Iraqi Museum of Modern art, which was looted in April 2003.


The exhibition was organized by the University of North Texas Art Gallery, Denton, Texas and supported by the Texas Commission on the Arts.

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