SulyOn Cultural Artistic Club

SulyOn is a cultural artistic club founded in 2007 by a group of young people who were students at the Institute of Fine Arts. Each year the group has its own projects which are based on contemporary art. The contents of the projects are related to the current time issues in society.

The group’s latest work was called Road Project which was displayed at the Red Museum from 6-11th of June. The project focused  on the use of public space and private space in Sulaimani city, showing them in a new artistic form. The rector of the project was Azer Osman, and eight other artists (Shameran Fatah, Hemn Jamil, Hawnaz Jelal, Govar Salar, Raz Khefaf, Shad Kameran, Diako Gherib, Helo Lano) participated in the project. Each artist chose one of today’s issues to work on either to interpret, to analyze or to criticize it and presented it in an artistic form. Some of the works were performed on the streets of the city with the people there, and they were documented in order to show them again at the Red Museum.

The main issue that was focused on is the rapid growth of a city but without a city plan.  For example, Fatah worked on the effects of the rapid growth on social and environmental life. In his work, he explained how growth gives a new form to the city and eventually eliminates the old form. His artistic work represented how big buildings are increasing and occupying a large amount of space without consideration to the fact that it is a public space and should not be privatized by the building of a company.

Also, Khefaf worked on the large number of imported cars without reforming the streets. She criticized how cars are a huge part of our social life nowadays to a level that sometimes cars are parked in places that are for meant for people to walk. She created a big wall in one of the halls of the Red Museum, put two cars into the wall and brought many other cars to park all the way to the entrance door of the museum. Her work was a critic to the large number of cars that do not have places in the city or take up inappropriate places.

In the project, the issue of gender was not neglected; Jelal  worked really hard to find almost all the places in Sulaimani that only men can go to such as the cafeterias and the tea-houses. Then she drew Sulaimani’s map on a plate which was 280cm, and its width was 650cm in order to mark all the places that are only for men. Only around the 60 meter Street, she found 500 places which did not only surprise us but also the audiences who came to the show! The purpose of her work was to mark the places that women cannot enter, and show how even our buildings seem to hold prejudices against women.

Art is no longer limited to opening an exhibition for paintings but now also includes bringing back art into society and working with the issues that society faces. It is one of the methods of contemporary art, to bring art into our everyday lives. Shows of this kind are important to developing societies because people need to remember not to lose their souls along the way of development. Art shows such as this one will keep our society moving forward by making sure every once in a while that the world must not only be seen through the eyes of politicians or businessmen, but also through eyes of artists.

By: Renas Hassan