Ali Eyal: Land of Shadows Fertilized with Unbridled Memories
By Amin Alsaden
Ali Eyal has been exploring the complex relationships among contemporary politics, personal history, and the ways in which catastrophes are remembered, especially in his hometown of Baghdad following the 2003 American-led invasion. In his distinctive, dense, and elusive constructions, typically in drawings, installations, and videos, Eyal contemplates the lasting impact of war trauma and examines the places where violence might dwell, from urban and rural landscapes to the unconscious. His practice raises questions about the challenges of representing the vast scale of the tragedies brought about by armed conflict—calamities that evade the frames within which one might wish to inscribe their multiple dimensions, and that often obscure other, more mundane, nuanced, and tender aspects of the survivors’ lives. Eyal recently participated in documenta fifteen as part of a reunion of artists who, in 2011–15, attended workshops organized by the Baghdad-based educational initiative Sada. I spoke to the artist about his contribution.