Road through Kurdistan

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

Curated by Richard Wilding and Mariwan Jalal

The exhibition Road through Kurdistan showed artworks and artefacts relating to Kurdish history, culture and identity. It also reflected the region’s religious and ethnic diversity, genocide under Saddam Hussein’s regime, destruction of heritage by Daesh (ISIS), and future hopes for the Kurdish people.

Exhibition 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.

Press Coverage

The Guardian

Henry McDonald
30th September 2019

Art that survived Isis and Saddam regimes to go on display in London

Emotionally powerful exhibition of Iraqi Kurdish artists will include paintings peppered by bullets.

Kurdish artworks that survived Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical weapons as well as Islamic State’s cultural vandalism will go on display at a London gallery this week.

read more

Kurdistan 24

Wladimir van Wilgenburg
3rd October 2019

‘Road through Kurdistan’ exhibition celebrates Kurdish culture in London

Gulan, a UK-registered charity, will celebrate its 10th anniversary this week by hosting an exhibition called “Road through Kurdistan,” which includes artwork and artifacts related to Kurdish history and identity, as well as persecution and cultural destruction at the hands of the so-called Islamic State.

read more

Middle East Monitor

Charline Bou Mansour
4th October 2019

Kurdish art comes to London

UK charity Gulan is hosting the exhibition Road through Kurdistan to celebrate 10 years of promoting Kurdish culture.

read more

SBS Kurdish, Australia

Mayada Kordy Khalil
4th October 2019

Stories told through an artist’s eyes

An exhibition relating to Kurdish history, identity, persecution and cultural destruction by ISIS by a vibrant group of international artists including Kurdish-Australian artist Rushdi Anwar.

read more

The National, Abu Dhabi

Melissa Gronlund
9th October 2019

The new London show that celebrates the works of Kurdish artists

War, destruction and a celebration of life are among the themes explored in the exhibition.

read more

The Arab Weekly

Karen Dabrowska
12th October 2019

‘Road Through Kurdistan’ stops in London

The festival’s focal point, “Road Through Kurdistan,” is a major exhibition of contemporary Kurdish art that brings together an eclectic group of international artists, both Kurdish and non-Kurdish.

read more

Kurdsat Magazine

16th October 2019

A video feature about ‘Road through Kurdistan’ on Kurdsat Broadcasting Corporation’s daily magazine show.

read more

Visitor’s Comments

Feedback from the Visitors book for Road through Kurdistan, 3rd – 26th October 2019, together with feedback by email.

Comments in  Kurdish have been translated.

Brilliant! It was such a pleasure to meet Baldin and hear his account of how he created his unique artwork. Keep up the good work Gulan!

Thank you for the invitation. Well done!

Thank you and well done


as it was
Beautiful and
Emotion filled
– will be back.

It makes its point beautifully

Great exhibition
I also loved the music.

Congratulations Richard and Piers

A beautiful exhibition.

Most interesting and very well curated. We should see more exhibitions like this.

I’ve been, I’ve seen and I’m touched

Thank you for a beautiful exhibition

Wonderful, inspiring exhibition!
Many thanks

Wonderful and amazing

Very interesting and thought provoking – thank you.

Amazing exhibition. Thank you.

A very moving exhibition. Thank you.

Fun workshop for glass painting. Thanks!

It was such a great workshop and we really enjoyed ourselves! Many thanks to Mariwan, Sarah and everyone at Gulan.

Really loved all the representation of all Kurds shown by the exhibition.
Thank you all.

Tuesday 8thOctober 2019

Thank you for offering a window into Kurdish culture and arts at such a prescient time. Really enjoyed exhibition and will return.

Beautiful exhibition.

Wonderful exhibition. Thank you for bringing this work to our attention.

Moving, very beautiful and a great surprise. We should come more to this wonderful gallery.

Such a delight to be here, the music, sketches Beautiful sculptures and I will Whatsapp my Yezidi friends, so they see that many are talking about them, their art, and situation.

Its my second time visiting Journey through Kurdistan exhibit, and it touched me even more. Thank you Gulan for sponsoring a much needed understanding, so we are never jaded

Very impressive exhibition. Thank you

Impressive and diverse exhibition – thank you,

Really enjoyed the exhibition. Very effective way of showing destruction of war on[ human ] and life. Loved symbolism of Mariwan’s work. Hope to see more of such exhibitions.

Stumbled upon your exhibition by chance. Very insightful. Thank you.
Cape Town

Interesting graphic art
Great guide!!

Powerful exhibition that reminds us of the atrocities witnessed by this land.
All pieces of art are marked by sensitivity and emotion.
Thank you to the artists.

A beautiful land with a sad, sad history.

I am amazed and proud to see such a wonderful collection from our Kurdish artists across the world.

Very interesting and meaningful work

Many thanks

Moving thoughtful provoking

Voices that should be heard – an important collection – even more so given the current situation –

What a powerful exhibition. I am humbled and privileged to have seen it.
Melbourne, Australia

Fascinating exhibition – really moving stuf
Great to have representation of Kurdish culture, fascinating and important.

Very interesting. Good to see this exhibition of Kurdish culture – its opened up another experience for me.

A fascinating exhibition which has opened up a world and a people of whom we know too little.

Excellent exhibition, very informative guide!

A very insightful and enticing exhibition. Very grateful that the Kurdish people’s experiences have been voiced through such a great project. Thank you for showcasing history.

Poignant lessons to learn from this exhibition

An incredible, insightful and harrowing exhibition. The stories that each artefact, sketch, video and picture tell are important tales of history but also of the present, where history is repeating itself.

The depiction of cultures, people and the level of displacement ongoing on our plant is extensive. Educating, learning and growing the understanding of the past, current and future generations of our world. Not to be forgotten.
Truly captivating and amazing.

A truly great exhibition. At such a time where Kurdistan is going through another genocide, really inspiring to see such artwork.

Thought provoking and inspiring

Fantastic exhibition, inspiring and thought provoking. Beautifully curated.

Save the birds and the world

Lovely films from Kurdistan, on Leopard and Birds

The work is all so personal and individually moving. Nothing didactic yet so original. Thank you. The films were a special treat

Very interesting story about the Kurdish people’s struggle.

Very insightful. I came away with more questions.

Very interesting and insightful. I would highly recommend to anyone.

So lovely to see such a varied collection of Kurdish art work. Its lovely to see others enjoy these beautiful pieces.

A lovely exhibition full of interest and variety – artworks not often seen.

Interesting and well worth a visit. Thanks

Fascinating and incredibly insightful. Refreshing to see!

What a wonderful exhibition – beautifully .. and with resonances of other genocides. Thank you.

Congratulations– a very wide-ranging, urgent, memorable exhibition.

A well thought out exhibition, well executed both in content and craft by the artists. Also well curated .

Moving and dignified. An important reminder of the determination and courage of a people preserving their culture and history. Well worth the rather humid visit.

I was very moved and enjoyed the community spirit in such dark times.


Very enlightening, thanks so much.

Super informative! Zimbabwe

A very interesting and well-organised exhibition that depicts the horrors of the conflicts and the resistance of the people.

Thank you so much. A very interesting and moving exhibition. I also understood how to play some of the rhythms on the Kurdish drums !

A fantastic exhibition!

Beautifully put together.
Very enjoyable and informative.

Fascinating exhibition very informative. Very eye opening and relieving to see beautiful art can come out of tragedy and pain.

Thank you to all the participants of this exhibition.

I was very happy to see all these beautiful art works of my dear Kurdish artists from all parts of Kurdistan as one nation. I hope to see more like this.

I am away from my country, like a refugee.. But I saw my country here today, I have learned a lot.
As Omiri says:
“I wish I was a child again and be in my mother’s heart. I loved it.

Well done and I would like to thank you very much for your tireless effort. I pray to god to bring peace to Kurdistan.
Just attended a wonderful Daf @drum’ workshop. Many thanks.

Fantastic Daff workshop. Thank you. Exhibition fantastic too.
You all have lifted my spirit.

Fantastic exhibition – great breadth of work and ideas. Well done

I liked the exhibition, also the fact that the peacock is hard and fun to find. Look at the triangle with the snakes on Look at the back, its grey. DP age 8

It was an absolute pleasure to visit this exhibition. My friends and I travelled from Austria, German and the USA, and we knew we must see this exhibition, especially with what is happening in Rojava.
and Kurdistan

Inspirational. Out of such tragedy comes all this beauty. Thank you

Very important in terms of education. Moving heartfelt work. Thank you!

Brilliant – a rare privilege to enter into the recent history, suffering and beauty of this region. Thank you.

Thank you for a most moving and beautiful exhibition, and for the interesting talk with the artists.

Thank you for such a beautiful important and moving exhibition

Eye-opening and important issues discussed through art and expression. A privilege to have witnessed and seen the show.

Very moving exhibition – particularly the sketches

Very nice variations of different styles of Art and collectibles. Rich in history and sentiment.

Very thoughtfully assembled and a display which conveys a lot of both despair and help. ******

Really ‘enjoyed’ visiting the gallery and seeing the artwork which was so moving – especially the guns the children made. Thank you for increasing my understanding of the Kurdish culture and struggles.

Most interesting exhibition showing the resilience of the Kurds and their suffering which, sadly, continues to this day.

Eye opening and insightful experience. I loved the video with .. ink writings. Black flowing ink.

Lovely exhibition. Enjoyed it, has interesting work.

Truly distressing, thought provoking and evocative art. So much destruction. Good to see beauty coming out of it somehow. The Kurds are in my heart.

Thank you for a superb show.

Powerful images, left an amazing impression. Will definitely recommend !

A fantastic show. Congratulations for all the artists and Gulan.

I am amazed by this exhibition and the message its portraying. The courage of the Kurds and how they have been battling through history to now has given me a whole new perspective of Kurdish.

Really moving, informative exhibition. Well done all involved.

Very moving exhibition, well organised and in depth.
Thank you for all your hard work and effort.

Really incredible exhibition – thank you for all your hard work in organising.

A wonderful exhibition. Very moving and beautiful curated. It is very important to show such powerful history and art forms from rich culture of Kurdistan. THANK YOU!

Just stumbled across this in the rain. Glad to see the exhibition and learn more – all those places and buildings are very beautiful – sad that conflict has destroyed so much for the people and the country. Thank you.

My friend and I came across this exhibition by mistake and have found it to be a fascinating, interesting and disturbing exhibition. We hope it will be touring elsewhere too. She has no words. It has left us both with a profound sense of incredibly sad gratefulness.
Thank you to the artists and to Gulan.

Very moving exhibition.

One of the best and most powerful exhibition I have ever been to.

All the best on your way to Kurdish freedom.

I liked it.

Beautiful, well curated exhibition showing the spectrum of Kurdish art from the diaspora. Important and necessary !

Powerfully curated! Thank you. Also incredibly sad. Maybe one day there will be exhibitions for the achievements and contributions of our people as well Showing off the beauty of the people and the culture and the land. Healing from the wounds from the past.

Great exhibition, so interesting to see the work of Kurdish artists!

So glad we managed to catch this exhibition before it closes. A very powerful collection that should be seen by everyone. Will definitely be recommending this and following any future events.

Very powerful and important messages behind these great artworks

Some pieces conjure up dread and foreboding. Some are simply beautiful. Together they tell a powerful story of a people that deserves PEACE.

Such a powerful and interesting exhibition. I enjoyed the way it was so varied and the biogs of the artists was fascinating.

Fascinating exhibition.

I’m glad I managed t see the exhibition. I’ve learned a lot not only about Kurdish culture but also about myself and how I see the world.
Thank you!

Very interesting Art and subject with creative ideas on topics that are not discussed and exhibited on the main stream.

Thanks a lot

A powerful hit these images of suffering humanity rendered so beautifully
Thank you everyone.

Many congratulations to all concerned with regard to this ongoing event. I think the exhibition contains wonderful examples of creativity that are entirely original in concept, beautiful, moving, thought-provoking, occasionally harrowing, often life-affirming, and in a space which does full justice to the works on display. It was a joy to see Della despite knowing she still has a way to go with the treatment, but how amazing she is.

The Kurdish Memory Project films are wonderful, thank you for showing them.

Many thanks David, Sarah and Richard for introducing me to your fantastic organisation and for such a moving evening. Gwynne’s films were stunning.
I loved the exhibition which was so full of thoughtful and haunting personal testimonies and responses to such terrible ongoing persecution. There was, as you said in your conclusion Sarah, much hope there too. London felt different as I stepped out of the gallery.

I enjoyed it very much, it’s a beautiful exhibition – I found the video of the young boys making toy weapons particularly captivating and stood looking at it for a long while. I’ll check out the other events – thanks.

Thank you for letting us be part of your fantastic exhibition. What a brilliant turn out!
It’s so good to hear such positive feedback. Let’s keep spreading the word.
I hope you have continued success for the rest of the exhibition.

Many congratulations to all concerned with regard to this ongoing event. I think the exhibition contains wonderful examples of creativity that are entirely original in concept, beautiful, moving, thought-provoking, occasionally harrowing, often life-affirming, and in a space which does full justice to the works on display.

The Kurdish Memory Project films are wonderful, thank you for showing them.

I was humbled to join poetry event as part of Gulan cultural organization’s 10th anniversary festival, where Dr Rebwar Fatah presented his insight on contemporary Kurdish poetry & poem reading blended with soothing music. Congrats Gulan,

Thank you so much for your time and the tour of the exhibition. I was so moved by the works and feelings that were captured in the work. Thank you for curating such a great show! …I am SO happy that I visited your exhibition.

I have a special view of the exhibition – Richard toured me around and introduced me to the artist whose work was downstairs, who gave me a personal tour of his work. The entire exhibition was both unnerving and uplifting – mixture of horror and beauty in equal measure. Well done.

It’s such an interesting exhibition with contributions from artists from all over the world and in such varied media. So well done for helping it happen. Richard was very informative and helpful as well. .

The job of an artist is to show to the public to ensure that his artistic message is reached, especially in this historic moment which Kurdistan is going through.

I thank you for your commitment, your love for this people who are far from you. FANTASTIC SHOW. We loved every piece. Made me nostalgic for my time in Kurdistan.

Beautiful and thoughtful exhibition. It was so nice meeting Mariwan and learning more about each of the artists. Thank you!

Gulan at 10 Events

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

Glass painting workshop with Kurdish artist Mariwan Jalal

Saturday 5th October, 12 – 3pm

Film screening: Kurdistan Memory Programme

An evening of short films produced by the Kurdistan Memory Programme, followed by Q&A with KMP’s International Director Gwynne Roberts.

Tues 8th October, 6.30 –  8.30pm

Film screening: The Deminer (2017)

A portrait of a Kurdish colonel, who disarmed thousands of roadside bombs and mines armed only with his courage and a pair of wire cutters.

Thurs 10th October, 6.30 – 8.30pm

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

Tues 15th October, 6.30 – 8.30pm

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

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

Thurs 17th October, 6.30 – 8.30pm

Percussion workshop with Kurdish santur and daf player Peyman Heydarian

Saturday 19th October, 12 – 3pm

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

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