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Creating hipster culture in an old tobacco factory in Sulaimaniyah

Sulaimaniyah's defunct tobacco factory celebrates its second year as an arts and culture center.

In mathematics, a function is a relation that takes element X and produces value Y. These outputs, whether similar or different, can all be mapped back to the initial input. XLine, a youth group of Iraq’s diverse culturati, is an explicit reference to this mathematical process as they, too, combine each member’s individual inputs to produce a collective, creative economy that they hope will transform the country.

Over the next month, XLine members are celebrating their organization’s second anniversary through a series of performances and exhibits to engage the wider public. Based in Sulaimaniyah’s cavernous — and now defunct — tobacco factory, XLine hopes that these events, which started in mid-December and will continue until the end of January, will inspire local communities to get involved in creative activities.

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