It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq


On 4th, 11th and 13th May 2012, the Enheduanna Society contributed to It Is What It Is: Conversations about Iraq, an installation by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller. This installation was part of an exhibition entitled Joy In People at the Hayward Gallery in London’s Southbank Centre.

It Is What It Is featured a car—shown below—that was wrecked in a terrorist attack in Baghdad in 2007. In 2009 Jeremy Deller, with an Iraqi citizen and an American soldier, took the wrecked car around the USA as ‘the conversation piece from hell’. Click here for more information.

The wreckage of the car was salvaged after a bomb blast in Baghdad’s historic centre, the Al-Mutanabbi book market in the city’s old quarter. Below are photographs of the book market before the attack and as it has been restored since the attack. Click here for more information about the Iraqi response to the terrorist attack.

Fran Hazelton and Badia Obaid told stories in English and Arabic about war and civil strife in Iraq 4000 years ago—The Cursing of the City of Agade and The Lamentation for the Destruction of Ur—which were written on clay tablets in Sumerian using cuneiform script. Badia also discussed how Baghdad, her home city, had changed during her lifetime, particularly as a result of its recent history.




It Is What It Is


Click on the thumbnails below to enlarge the images

May 2012 May 2012 May 2012 May 2012 May 2012 May 2012

Southbank Centre

Hayward Gallery

Joy In People

It is What It Is

Conversations about Iraq

May 2012 May 2012 May 2012 May 2012 2006 2011

Conversations about Iraq, with storytelling by Fran and Badia

Al-Mutanabbi book market in 2006 (left)
and in 2011 as restored after the bombing


The storytelling was illustrated with a map of ancient Iraq featuring information about the history of Sumer and Akkad.
Click here to view a copy, which can also be downloaded and printed.