Last week I had the chance to attend an opening at Pomegranate Gallery in SoHo for the new show “Oil on Landscape: Art From Wartime Contemporaries of Baghdad,” curated by a former military officer who served in Iraq until 2007, Christopher J. Brownfield.
As a collection from Baghdad, the art covers a wide range: from renderings of eye-witnessed violence to scenes of everyday life for Iraqis. The show evoked in me a sense of loss. The artists and many guests who know Baghdad miss a place that cultivated Middle Eastern culture. What they have in its place is a devastated home many can’t even return to until conditions improve and their lives are no longer at risk.
Naturally, the conversation around this art is political. What everyone seemed to agree on was the idea that art can help an individual transcend fear and anger and develop a better understanding through the feelings and experiences expressed. Visitors and artists seem to almost reach for each other with a desire to connect and make the war go away.