Gulan at 10, Gulan’s 10th anniversary festival, presents the exhibition:

Road through Kurdistan

P21 Gallery, Kings Cross, London
3rd – 26th October 2019

Curated by Richard Wilding and Mariwan Jalal


Artworks and artefacts relating to Kurdish history, identity, persecution and cultural destruction by ISIS, from an eclectic group of international artists:

Behjat Omer Abdulla, Baldin Ahmad, Osman Ahmed, Rushdi Anwar, Khadija Baker, Niaz Bayati, Ali Raza Garmiany, Bahram Hajo, Rebeen Hamarafiq, Hemn Hamid, Mariwan Jalal, Azad Karim Mohammed, Rozhgar Mustafa, Daro Ola, Rebwar Saed, Piers Secunda, Richard Wilding and Hozan Zangana.

P21 Gallery
21-27 Chalton Street,
London NW1 1JD

Opening Hours
Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 12 – 6pm
Wednesday: 12 – 8pm
Saturday: 12 – 4pm
Closed on Sunday and Monday

Free Entry

The exhibition marks the 100th anniversary of post-WWI peace treaties signed by the imperial powers which created the modern borders between Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria, denying the Kurds an independent state. It also reflects the region’s religious and ethnic diversity, genocide under Saddam Hussein’s regime, religious persecution and destruction of heritage by Daesh (ISIS), and future hopes for the Kurdish people.

The exhibition takes its name from a book written by the New Zealand engineer A.M Hamilton. In 1928, Hamilton was commissioned by the British administration that then controlled Iraq to build a road from Erbil through the mountains and gorges of Kurdistan to the Persian frontier. In his book, Road through Kurdistan, published in 1937, Hamilton describes the numerous challenges he overcame to construct a route through some of the world’s most beautiful but difficult and dangerous terrain.

Hamilton had to enlist the support of rival tribal leaders and unite an ethnically and religiously diverse workforce. During the four years taken to complete the road, he developed a deep understanding of the region and respect for its Kurdish, Arab, Christian, Yezidi, Turkmen and Jewish inhabitants. Towards the end of the book, Hamilton has an awful premonition of the ethnic and religious sectarianism that would grip Iraq in subsequent decades.

The exhibition Road through Kurdistan also looks forward to a more positive future, in which Kurdish culture and identity may flourish and more bridges can be built between religious and ethnic neighbours. There are now new ‘roads through Kurdistan’ to be explored, with opportunities for peaceful coexistence, trade and tourism.

The exhibition is part of a series of events marking the 10th anniversary of Gulan, a UK registered charity which has worked to promote Kurdish culture and heritage. The exhibition is curated by Gulan’s Creative Director Richard Wilding and Kurdish artist Mariwan Jalal.

A programme of events, film screenings and workshops will run during October to celebrate Gulan’s 10th anniversary.

Natural History Films: Saving the Persian Leopard and The Birds of Qaradagh

Tues 15th October, 6.30 – 8.30pm
£5 in advance, £10 on the door

book now

Poetry event with Dr. Rebwar Fatah, a prominent Kurdish writer and journalist.

Rebwar Fatah talks about contemporary Kurdish poetry with readings in English by Shaniaz Hama Ali, in Kurdish by Mina Swara, accompanied by Kurdish music on the Ney flute from Awat Afroozi.

Thurs 17th October, 6.30 – 8.30pm
£5 in advance, £10 on the door

book now

Percussion workshop with Kurdish santur and daf player Peyman Heydarian

Saturday 19th October, 12 – 3pm

book now

Film screening: The First Movie (2009)

Film-maker Mark Cousins, who was brought up in a Northern Irish war zone, travels to Goptapa, a Kurdish-Iraqi village of just 700 people on a tributary of the Tigris river, and tries to make a dream film about a place that is normally only portrayed in current affairs programmes.

Tues 22nd October, 6.30 – 8.30pm
£5 in advance, £10 on the door

book now

Panel discussion with Jonathan Watkins

Panel discussion chaired by Jonathan Watkins, Director of Ikon Gallery, Birmingham with Road through Kurdistan curators Richard Wilding and Mariwan Jalal together with exhibition artists.

Thurs 24th October, 6.30 – 8.30pm
Free event, please RSVP here