Facing Living: The Past in the Present, 2015
HD video sound installation, 12 min 30 sec
In the work Facing Living: The Past in the Present, I utilised a printed photograph,
on paper, of Saddam Hussein. In this work, a fragmented image of this Middle Eastern dictator is repetitively torn and pieced back together, until the image is no more – representative of a political landscape and the self-interest of its rulers.
Every new government established since Saddam’s downfall has not delivered on their promises of freedom, stability, hope and peace. Citizens are still living under the shadow of the past. Post-Saddam Iraq still functions in the shadow of the Saddam era.
Similarly, this situation – hope turning to disappointment – is reflected during the “Arab Spring” in other Middle Eastern countries.
Rushdi Anwar is a Melbourne-based artist originally from Kurdistan, currently working between Australia and Thailand. His work often invites reflection on the socio-political issues of Kurdistan, Iraq and the Middle East. He poetically draws from personal experiences and memory concerning contemporary issues of displacement, identity, conflicts, and trauma, as well as the impact of colonialism, based on his background as a Kurd who has lived through recent violence in the region. His works reference both recent and historical geopolitical unrest that extends to generate discourse about the status of social equity. His installations, sculpture, painting, photography and video practice recall the everyday plight of socio-political persecution, fundamentally expressing the necessity for care, attention and redemption.
Rushdi has degrees from the Institute of Kirkuk, Kurdistan, and the Enmore Design Centre in Sydney. He completed a Masters of Fine Art and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Art (PhD) at RMIT University in 2016, with a thesis on ‘The Search for Meaning: Material and Form in the Context of Socio-political Issues’.
He has held solo and group exhibitions in Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Finland, France, Japan, Kurdistan, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand,
the United Arab Emirates and the USA.
Following several artist-in-residence programmes in Thailand, he co-founded and co-ordinated the Australian Thai Artist Interchange, an organisation which enhances cross-cultural exchange, awareness and appreciation of art and culture between Australians and Thais. He is also a founding member of the artists’ collective the Working Collection.