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Between Ancient Landscapes and Mesopotamian Artefacts at the British Museum and the Brunei Gallery

At Brunei Gallery, image from the first workshop on 7th March 2020

Two Images from second workshop on 15th March 2022, first image at Brunei Gallery/ SOAS/London, second image at British Museum.

"To The Victors Belong The Spoils"

Many of the artworks on display in the exhibition ‘Co-Existent Ruins: Exploring Iraq’s Mesopotamian Past Through Contemporary Art’ have been made in response to visits to several ancient Mesopotamian sites in Iraq. The exhibition, on display at the Brunei Gallery, is located a short distance from the British Museum which has a large collection of Mesopotamian artefacts from these sites.

This workshop will be an opportunity to explore how these contemporary artworks relate to the Mesopotamian artefacts on display in the British Museum. For example, what is the significance of the Iraqi artist Betoul Mahdi’s utilization of the traditional archival numbering system, used on ancient Mesopotamian artefacts, onto the bodies of Iraqi subjects in 2019? How do contemporary artistic practices challenge the accounts of archaeological material plundered from Iraq, and how have those archaeological practices shaped a modern identity for Iraqis? The workshop will explore such critical questions and provide participants with an opportunity to pose their own questions of these two entangled exhibitions located only metres away from each other.

The workshop will give participants a tour of the ‘Co-Existent Ruins’ exhibition before visiting the Mesopotamian displays at the British Museum. We will then return to the Brunei Gallery to discuss our findings and consider the conversations between these exhibitions.

The workshops took place at 12-3pm on 7th and 15th March 2022

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