Tate Buys a “Modern Guernica” by Iraqi Artist
Tags: Acquisitions, Arab-Israeli Conflict, Iraqi Artist, Israel, Lebanon, London, Museums, Palestine, Political Art, Tate
The Tate in London is in the process of buying a work by Iraqi artist Dia Azzawi that has come to be known as the “modern Guernica” (a reference to Pablo Picasso’s depiction of General Franco’s 1937 bombing of the town of Guernica, Spain).
Sabra and Shatila Massacre (1982-83) is a response to the 1982 massacre of Palestinian refugees housed in camps in Beirut that had been established during the Lebanese Civil War. A group of expelled members of the Lebanese Phalangist militia murdered between 762 and 3,500 refugees in retaliation of the assassination of Lebanese president Bachir Gemayel.
The late French writer and activist Jean Genet wrote an account of the event which served as Azzawi’s influence:
“A photograph doesn’t show the flies…nor the thick white smell of death. Neither does it show how you must jump over the bodies….”
The massacre, which lasted over three days, is considered the bloodiest event in the Arab-Israeli conflict. An International Commission concluded that Israeli soldiers, who had been defending the camps and permitted access to the militia members, were responsible– either directly or indirectly– for the massacre. A commission established by the Israeli government later confirmed the findings.
The drawing is currently on view as part of the Tate Modern’s “Transformed Visions” display.
[via The Art Newspaper]
Photo courtesy of The Art Newspaper