Professor Ahmed Fadaam presents on the evolution of art in Iraq

At this year's second Global Neighborhood House Dinner on the theme "The Arts Without Borders," Assistant Professor of Communications Ahmed Fadaam guided students through the evolutions of art in Iraq.

Approximately 70 students, staff, and faculty gathered over dinner in upstairs Lakeside on Tuesday, Oct. 4 to hear Professor Ahmed Fadaam present “Art Under Fire” as part of the annual programming related to the Global Neighborhood’s 2016-17 theme: “The Arts Without Borders.”

Fadaam, an Iraqi-born artist, journalist, and interpreter who is an assistant professor in the School of Communications, first asked students to define art and to reflect on its purpose before presenting a historical overview of the ways in which art in Iraq has evolved from the birth of the nation through the present day. As he showed students artistic works produced during significant moments of Iraqi history, including the Iraq-Iran War, the rule of Sadaam Hussein and the U.S. invasion of 2003 and its aftermath, he encouraged them to think about how art may serve as a mirror for society, and how political, economic and social changes can impact the work of artists. 

At their tables, students and faculty and staff discussants debated the purpose of art, discussed its importance as a form of expression, and asked Fadaam about his own personal relationship to his art. Admitting that he was not always as comfortable speaking in public as today, Fadaam shared: “I always try to express beauty … painting and sculpting were my way of showing people what I thought.”

The next Global Neighborhood House Dinner will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 1, where Professor Sophie Adamson from the Department of World Languages and Cultures will engage students on the cultural significance of the art of political cartoons in a global context.

In addition to the monthly House Dinners, the Global Neighborhood sponsors a yearlong film series that is free and open to the public. The next film screening will take place on Tuesday October 25th at 7 p.m. in Global Commons 103. Professor Emeritus Ken Hassell from Art and Art History will lead a pre- and post-film discussion of the 2012 documentary: Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present.