Artwork Installation by Mariwan Jalal installed in the Portsmouth Cathedral Nave

Interview with Della Murad about ‘Halabja in the Golden Days’

Rudaw TV, 12th November 2021

https://fb.watch/9eI5VOPjk5/

A phoenix rising from the ashes: Halabja culture and sacrifice consecrated at Portsmouth Cathedral

A review of the exhibition by Karen Dabrowska for The New Arab website
11 November, 2021

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Halabja in the Golden Days

Part of Journeys Festival International

14th Oct – 3rd Nov 2021

Mon to Sat 10am–3pm, Sun 12.45–3pm

Portsmouth Cathedral, High Street, Old Portsmouth, PO1 2HA

Halabja is a city in Iraqi Kurdistan, widely known for the terrible chemical weapons attack of 1988. This formed part of the ‘Anfal’ campaign of persecution, which resulted in many Kurds fleeing Iraq and seeking refuge overseas. The large Kurdish community in Portsmouth, many of whom were originally from Halabja, have for many years held an annual ceremony of remembrance.

Before 1988, Halabja was renowned for its beauty and culture. Gulan and our associates have conducted interviews with people from Halabja to create a series of articles on the city’s art, theatre, music and sports. Together with essays written by experts on Halabja’s poetry and costumes, these articles are exhibited here in Portsmouth Cathedral as part of the Journeys Festival International. 

The exhibition includes a display of Kurdish costumes curated by Della Murad, artworks by a number of Kurdish artists and a major artwork installation by Mariwan Jalal. Gulan has worked on this project with Portsmouth’s Kurdish community.

With this project we hope to demonstrate that there was much more to Halabja than just the terrible events of 1988. We want to show the great diversity of culture that existed before Anfal and build support for a cultural renaissance in Halabja. We hope to create a platform for the people still living in Halabja to talk with pride about their culture. We also hope to give the Kurdish diaspora who fled Halabja an opportunity to celebrate their history and identity.

For more details about the exhibition, to arrange interviews or group visits please email info@gulan.org.uk

I would like to thank Gulan charity for organising this vibrant and unique exhibition for Halabja in the golden days.
I thank all the artists who participated in this exhibition. I wish them all the success in the future events to promote for Kurdish art and culture. Thank you again for organising this beautiful event.

Ako Karim Haji

Beautiful, informative, thought provoking exhibition. I have learnt so much. Brilliant!

Tony Taylor

We were very moved by this wonderful expositions of the past glories, present problematic state and hopefully brighter future for Halabja.

Roy, Inverness

We are very grateful to attend this activity for Halabja. A lot of memories came back to my mind and the poetry and artwork is fantastic. It was lovely for me and my family to attend this exhibition. 

Bakhtiar, London

A most interesting, informative, colourful exhibition, such a real pleasure to see it.

Jean, Portsmouth

The power of people’s narratives to transport us here back into another time and place can never be underestimated. Thank you for transporting us with the beauty of the colours and words of the inhabitants of Halabja.

Jenny Cox, Southsea