HEAVEN BEFORE A BATTLE
Heaven Before a Battle, 2015
Installation: Video (color, sound), 18min. Ten drawings, size: A4 each.
Installation views: Tenthaus Oslo
(Exhibition HUMAN CONDITION, in cooperation with: Behjat Omer Abdulla)
Photo credit: Shwan Dler Qaradaki
Heaven Before a Battle (2015) enhances the idea of a violent rebirth in the minds of the people. It is clearly demarcated by its symbolic tricolor walls, evocative of Alaya Kurdistanê – the national flag of Kurdistan. This is neither a sentimental nor naive gesture. Connoting their struggle for freedom and independence from colonial domination, the usage of this particular flag has been stigmatized and banned in countries with a considerable indigenous Kurdish population (such as Turkey, Iran and Syria). Each color conveys meaning that introduces three types of ideas: sacrifice and death (the red blood of Kurdish martyrs, shed throughout their ongoing history of freedom-struggle), longing for peace, dignity and freedom (the white color), and life itself (for which Kurdistan’s nature – its green landscape in particular – remains a romantic reminiscence). In this setting, Qaradaki’s eighteen-minute video-piece coexists with ten ink drawings on paper featuring a number of portraits. The division between them is clear and revolves around the life/death axis: those on the red wall invoke the ideas of sacrifice and martyrdom and depict the members of Peshmarge (Kurdish military forces) who have been killed in the battles against Saddam Hussein; those on the green wall depict people who have somehow escaped death and to whom the artist is closely related. The triple nature of Quaradaki’s installation combines the coded language of the room’s walls with the programmatic arrangements invoking the idea of his homeland, the human costs of freedom, and the announcement of a brighter future to come. The video itself follows the triple logic of the room-design as it unfolds the narrative of a middle-aged man (Qaradaki’s brother) in front of three different types of audiences in three distinctive public venues in Suleymaniah: the Institute of Fine Arts, the Art Academy, and a military legion of female soldiers.
[an excerpt from the exhibition text by Marko Stamenkovic]