Carnet de voyage, Bagdad 2019
Les fresques de la révolte, une nouvelle figuration populaire
This contribution is a commented portfolio of images gathered during fieldwork in Baghdad (February 2020). It aims to provide an overview of the murals which have been concentrated on Tahrir Square since the revolution of October 2019. These murals share some iconographic topics in common with the thawra (revolution) in Syria, Tunisia, Egypt and Beirut. Nevertheless, some semantic and iconographic registers are specific to Iraq, and divided into two main categories. The first one recreates “a city within the city” (ville en abyme) through composite unrealistic images of real places known to all; the second relates to the martyrology of Shiism, with portraits of historical imams, but also of “martyrs” killed during the repression in Autumn 2019. Contrary to the well-known official iconography since the 1958 Iraqi revolution, this new figurative expression is that of a young population predominantly Shiite (due to demography in Iraq), and it stems from a cultural and political substrate prone to rebellion—that of Hussein, long repressed by power. The style is often naive, at the antipodes of the concomitant Beiruti thawra street art, although crossing with other globalized graphic codes. It constitutes a vibrant popular culture and also signals a “Shiitization” of public space. Beyond traditional divisions, it finally proves to federate, in reaction to the iconoclasm of Daesh but also to the corruption that strikes the daily life and the future of millions of citizens.
Copyright (c) 2022 Caecilia Pieri
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