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ALM Feature

Artistic heart of Iraq's Kurdistan thrives, but wants more public engagement

Sulaimaniyah, often called the Kurdistan Region of Iraq’s “culture capital,” has become something of a haven for artists, though obstacles remain for the vibrant and self-sustaining artistic center they envision. 
Artist Tara Abdulla in her studio in Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

SULAIMANIYAH — Paintings with messy lines of black and grey with splashes of green and red cover the walls of Tara Abdullah’s studio on the top floor of Sulaimaniyah’s old tobacco factory. Kurdish lettering and motifs of femininity and masculinity are prominent. More delicate pencil portraits peek from an alcove in one corner. 

Abdullah plugs in a small space heater to ward off the winter chill in the industrial cavern, apologizing about the mess of electrical wires, sound cables and paint cans strewn about, left over from her most recent project. 

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