موقع كـلـــدايا.نت يُرحب بكم
Celebrating Iraqi Chaldean Art
open dialogue with the Artist & Writer Ms. Lavon Ammori
- Interviewed by
Amer Fatuhi *
artist and writer Lavon Ammori is undertaking the
first book publication about contemporary Chaldean visual art.
Artist, critic, and advisor for the project Amer Fatuhi speaks with
her about this endeavor.
-Can you give us an idea about the goals and expectations you
seek to fulfill through this unique project?
The main goal is to
promote and preserve the achievements of contemporary Iraqi Chaldean
artists. There’s no resource about the contemporary art history of
our community, even though we have impressive talent and artists who
were very influential in the field. We are celebrating the Chaldean
culture and these artists in making this book.
-Who are the major sponsors of (Celebrating
Iraqi Chaldean Art) and when will the book be published?
The Chaldean Educational
Center of America and the International Association of Chaldean
Professional Visual Artists (ICA) are collaborating on the project.
We are seeking grants and are accepting business sponsorship. I am
also speaking with a number of publishers at the moment, and will
choose the one that can produce the high quality product this
subject deserves. It will be a very beautiful book with full color
images of works by many artists. We expect to have the book
published by next fall.
- What will be the main subjects or structure of the book?
The book focuses on
artists in the 20th and 21st century from the
time of Iraq’s independence in the 1930s to the present day. The
sections are organized chronologically, and a number of select
artists and their works are discussed in each chapter. These artists
include Issa Hanna Dabish, who was among a few founders of
the modern Iraqi art movement, and Faraj Abbo, who was an instructor
of art at Baghdad’s Academy of Fine Arts for several decades. The
book will include a catalog of Chaldean artists and a collection of
images. I should mention the book is in English.
- Such an enormous and impressive project has to have a team
of consultants and assistants, who is in your team, and what is
ICA and Mesopotamia Art
Gallery are a helpful source. Over 40 Chaldean artists from many
countries are registered in the group. Many Chaldean and other Iraqi
web-sites, among them
www.bakhdida.com and a
few others, provided me with their helpful resources. Also, the
directors at the Ministry of Information and Culture in Iraq and the
Iraqi Embassy in D.C. have kindly agreed to do what they can to
provide me with requested information.
-Would you like to enlighten us with some
of the major sources and academic resources of your project
(Celebrating Iraqi Chaldean Art)?
discrimination by the government-run art institutions, art books
published in Iraq hardly mention the part of non-Arab artists. Other
sources, such as the directories of the Iraqi Plastic Artists
Society and Artist’s Union, are more inclusive but not as in-depth.
Reviews and articles in art magazines of the period are a main
source. For this kind of research, the best resource has proven to
be artists themselves or their family members. They can provide me
with information and images of art work. Locating artists can be a
difficult task because of the situation in Iraq, they scattered
around the world, and those still in Iraq are difficult to reach.
Iraqi websites and artist pages are useful. A few books about Iraqi
contemporary art history in general are in helpful for an
understanding of a historical context.
-Is there a last word you would like to say
to the reader?
The Chaldean community
can be very proud of their artists and this project. We need to
preserve and share this history with our children and future
generations. We should remember that Iraq was a vibrant center, full
of creativity, music, art, and life. Hopefully, our children will
not only think of Iraq in terms of the images of war they see on the
TV news, but also in terms of the beauty that comes from its people.
I would like to ask
professional Chaldean visual artists, as well as those who may
provide documents or resources, to contact me as soon as possible.
If you would like to contribute to the project, we welcome your
financial support. This is a non-profit project and contributions
are tax deductible.
Amer Fatuhi: it should
be mentioned that the (Celebrating Iraqi Chaldean Art) project is
the upshot of more than two years of research and academic expertise
of the artist Lavon Ammori. This project is a critical cultural
project from my experience and after taking a look at the study
subjects that have been selected, it can be said with confidence
that this project will be of distinct quality and an addition to the
achievements of the members of the Iraqi communities in the American
Diaspora, especially the achievements of the native Iraqis, the
Chaldeans in particular. For more information about (Celebrating
Iraqi Chaldean Art), and for making donations or providing
resources, write to the author at the following e-mail:
or to learn more about the artist and her project please visit the
www.mesopotamiaartgallery.com, currently under construction.
photograph from a recent interview with Ms. Lavon Ammori in her
office at Mesopotamia Art History & Beyond (Learning Studio & Art