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Home of Memories

May 19, 2021 - August 29, 2021

Left: Ahmed Alshaikhli, Dhafer Abdulla, Baghdad – Coon Rapids, 2020, Digital Print, 24”x 30”
Right: Jaafar Alnabi, Eynas Alnabi, AlNasriyah – New Brighton, 2020, Digital Print, 24”x30”
Design by Peng Wu


City View Gallery | May 19, 2021 – August 29, 2021

Curated by CarryOn Homes (Peng Wu, Shun Jie Yong, Zoe Cinel)

The Rochester Art Center welcomes the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project (IARP) to present a travelling exhibition exploring homemaking and memories in the portraits of Iraqi Minnesotans by Iraqi Minnesotan photographers Ahmed Alshaikhli and Jaafar Alnabi. Curated by CarryOn Homes (Peng Wu, Shun Jie Yong, Zoe Cinel), the exhibition will be held at the Rochester Art Center in the CityView Gallery from May 19, 2021 to August 29, 2021. The portraits and stories featured in Home of Memories give us a complex and intimate portrayal of what home was, is, and what it can be. We invite visitors to reflect on the theme of home by bringing a photograph to be collectively displayed on a journey wall along with a shared memory. Additional programming details to be announced on IARP and Rochester Art Center websites.

Participants and Lab: Iraqi Voices is a collaborative arts storytelling lab run by the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project that pairs Iraqi-Minnesotans with professional artists to share their stories through an artistic platform. Since its start in 2012, the lab has produced 9 books, 15 award winning short documentary films and the groundbreaking theater production Birds Sing Differently Here premiering at the Guthrie Theater. The 2020 Iraqi Voices lab invited participants and photographers to look both inward and onwards as they explored home. The storytellers Lafta Abduljabbar Jassim, Rasol Albayati, Eynas Alnabi, Zena Khalil, Ronak Ali, Dhafer Abdulla, Abir Majid, and Hazha Las come together to compose a beautiful and intricate tapestry of home.

Photographers: Jaafar Alnabi is a multidisciplinary artist with a focus on filmmaking and visual effects. He is a 2016 graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, filmmaking BFA program. He moved to Minnesota in 1996 and is now based in New York City, working between NYC and Minneapolis. Ahmed Alshaikli is a seasoned photojournalist. He holds a high diploma in Fine Arts and Photography. Ahmed has worked at prominent Iraqi and international television broadcasters such as MBC, Al Arabia, Al-Hurra, and the Associated Press. He also worked as a cameraman and media officer with the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in Iraq. In 2014, he moved to the U.S. and eventually made his way to Minnesota in 2016 where he now lives with his family.

CarryOn Homes is an artist group comprised of immigrants from three countries, Zoe Cinel (Italy), Peng Wu (China) and Shun Jie Yong (Malaysia). The CarryOn Homes team members have experienced the difficulty of adapting to a new cultural context while attempting to maintain a sense of identity and find a community. Being an immigrant in the U.S. is a complicated condition that is both humbling and empowering. Drawing on this experience CarryOn Homes seeks to create artworks that offer a sense of belonging to those who are disenfranchised. The CarryOn Homes’ approach to artmaking is to consider people first and form second, and through this process the team construct platforms for interactions in service of the community. Emeritus CarryOn Homes team members, 2017-2020: Aki Shibata (Japan), Preston Drum (USA).

The Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project (IARP), a nonprofit founded in 2007, fosters conversation, learning, and compassionate action. In response to decades of sanctions, war, and occupation, IARP engages Iraqis and Americans in the arts, personal and professional exchanges, and humanitarian invitations in an effort to promote cultural understanding and reconciliation.

The Home of Memories Tour is made possible in part by the Target Foundation and the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.


May 19, 2021
August 29, 2021
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