The Medium: Arts and Music
WARCHESTRA is a multimedia series about war and culture, of visual and sonic components. This project was initiated as a painting series combatting the stereotypical image of Arabs in the Western Media as guntoting and violent, functioning as a form of censorship and also as an act of resisting stereotypes. The project has evolved into an act of empowerment through culture, highlighting the cultural heritage of the Arab peoples amidst an ongoing backdrop of war and destruction. By replacing weapons of war with musical instruments, the WARCHESTRA experience aims to reimagine the mediasaturated spaces of the Middle East, and Iraq in particular, through collage and sound. Trumpets trump AK47’s, clarinets covering RPG’s, blast walls emulating zithers, and grand pianos crashing from the sky as bombs, are just a few of the transformations these works have conceived. Abdul Hadi’s position as a cultural producer of Iraqi origin has informed the work’s desire to highlight culture amongst the backdrop of war. The need to confront stereotypical images of Arabs during this critical time of war and representation carries a sense of urgency evident in WARCHESTRA. This series is also a commentary on political dynamics of the Middle East amidst the ongoing wars in Iraq and Palestine, and most importantly, the American occupation of Iraq and its sociopoliticaleconomic significance.
There is a soundscape accompanying almost each painting, made in collaboration with poets or musicians in musical or lyrical dialogue with the paintings, and underlaid with field recordings from Baghdad. Artists’ in collaboration are Pianist Stefan Christoff (Montreal), trumpeter Jason “Blackbird” Selman of Kalmunity Vibe Collective (Montreal), poet Suheir Hammad (Palestine- USA), vocalist Meryem Saci (Nomadic Massive/ Montreal) are amongst a hand full of artists that provide a soundscape to Abdul Hadi’s collaged paintings, with coproduction by The Narcicyst (Montreal).