On the Brink: Two Artists Explore the Threat of Collapse
In paintings and sculptures, Walid Siti engages natural and architectural forms from the environment and folklore of his native Kurdish Iraq to explore its cultural legacy and possible future. “My life is affected by politics and war, whether I am involved in them or not,” he has said. “My work has always been haunted by these themes—by choice or by circumstance.” Exiled from Iraq while studying art in Europe in the 1980s, Siti employs the forms of mountains, ziggurats, and pyramids, creating a link between structures of power and the ways that nature determines life and inflects local culture. Siti assembles these forms in a hardscrabble manner, conjuring both scraggly construction and the potential for ruinous decay. His paintings, in particular, possess a sketchy and shadowy quality, depicting pyramidal forms engulfed in darkness, which suggest an indeterminate relationship between the fertile history of Iraq, its tumultuous political present, and its uncertain future.
Iraqi-Kurdish, b. 1954, Duhok, Iraq, based in London, United Kingdom