The Jan. 30 Iraqi elections have brought national attention to Nashville's Kurdish population, one of the largest such communities in the world outside the Middle East. As voting concludes this week at the State Fairgrounds, a new photo exhibit at the Belcourt testifies to what is at stake.
For five months last year, Nashville photographer Katherine Bomboy made a visual document of life in Northern Iraq after the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime. Grieving mothers, proud new voters, children and amputees are among the subjects of her exhibit "Images of Hope from Northern Iraq," which begins this weekend in the Gallery at the Belcourt and continues through March 15. One of the most striking images from the exhibit is of a white marble statue, a sculpture of a woman breaking her shackles and reaching for the sky.
"This is the first piece of public art you see when entering the Northern Iraqi city of Sulaymania," Bomboy said in an artist's statement. "Every time I drove past this statue, I would stare at it against the Iraqi blue sky and think about the oppression the Iraqi people have endured: the Anfal campaign, the chemical bombing of Halabja, Saddam's prisons where whole families were tortured, the victims of landmines. This statue and most other public art in Northern Iraq represents the Kurdish desire to be free from oppression."
Bomboy will be present for a gallery opening 4 p.m. Saturday at the Belcourt. For more information, call Walker Terrell at 846-3150.