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60 Glasses of Tea: art exhibition inspired by Kurdistan – Old prison in Arbil turned into art expo

ARBIL, Kurdistan Region, July 9, (Agencies): A joint Kurdish-Danish exhibition in Arbil has turned an old prison into an art expo with the Arbil-based Kurdish artist Asuda Rawandzi, and the  Danish artist Lone Bendixen Goulani who will soon be leaving the Kurdistan Region.

Goulani said that she has been in Kurdistan since 2003, describing her time in the Kurdish Region as “rich and inspiring,” she said on her Facebook, adding that the exhibition was her last time in Arbil, and she is to return back to her native country of Denmark.

Asuda described her day at the exhibition as “special.”

The old atmospheric Mahata Prison was initially built as a railway station. Now, Shanidar Art Expo is turning this historical location into a gallery starting with an exhibition prepared by Lone Bendixen Goulani and Asuda Rwandzi.

In this art exhibition, both women are drawing on the inspiration and colors of Kurdistan, the mosaics of the mosques, the glittering dresses in the bazar, the patterns of the Kurdish carpets, favorite places around the region, and the people that play a role in their lives. The exhibition is called 60 Glasses of Tea as each of the 60 pieces of work is like a glass of tea served to enjoy in the humble setting of an old prison.

Lone Bendixen Goulani has a degree in Modern Culture and Cultural Communication from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. The local artist, Asuda Rwandzi, is educated from the Fine Arts College in Arbil, Kurdistan.

All proceeds will be donated to SEED’s psychological counseling services for Yezidi women to support them in recovering from torture, rape and sexual slavery.

A Swiss museum director preparing for a Nazi-era art collection’s long-awaited public unveiling later this year has said that her goal remains finding heirs to any works that may have been looted from Jewish owners.

Bern Museum of Fine Arts head Nina Zimmer, who took ownership of 150 drawings, lithographs and paintings this week ahead of an exhibition slated to begin in November, said research shows none of these were stolen by National Socialists.

But questions linger over the provenance of some of the collection’s pieces still in Germany, where a 2012 raid by authorities on a Munich apartment produced a sensation: 1,500 long-lost works by modern masters, including Pablo Picasso, Otto Dix and Henri Matisse.

“Every restitution is a victory for us,” Zimmer said in an interview, while acknowledging such provenance sleuthing remains unpredictable. “I cannot make any promises.”

In addition to Zimmer’s exhibition in Bern, the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn, Germany, is also planning to display items from the collection, which to date has produced only five works confirmed to have been stolen by the Nazis.

Four have been returned to heirs, so far, including a Matisse portrait, “Sitting Woman,” that belonged to Paris-based collector Paul Rosenberg.

Before its discovery five years ago, the massive trove was hidden for years in the German and Austrian homes of Cornelius Gurlitt.

His art-dealer father, Hildebrand, amassed it after being enlisted by the Nazis to sell so-called “degenerate” modern art they had seized from German museums.

Though original estimates for the collection’s value topping $1 billion were likely exaggerated, experts said, the find is still spectacular.

“It is the most important cache of art from the Nazi era to be found in private hands since the immediate postwar period,” said Jonathan Petropoulos, a Claremont McKenna College history professor in California.

When Cornelius Gurlitt died aged 81 in 2014, he named the Bern museum as benefactor.

It accepted, on the condition works whose lineage was unclear must remain in Germany.

The Bern museum is now working with the German Lost Art Foundation, which tracks Nazi era art thefts, to unravel the collection’s murky past, though not everyone is pleased with the progress.

Christopher Marinello, a lawyer who helped Rosenberg’s heirs recover their lost Matisse in 2015, said the pace of research has been glacial — even after he provided German researchers with “full and complete provenance on a silver platter,” he said.

“Internal and governmental bureaucracy in Germany is quite out of control,” Marinello said in an email on Friday. “There is an inherent lack of sympathy for the victims of Nazi looting.”

The German Lost Art Foundation, which took over from a previous task force last year, contends it is making “positive strides” including digitizing documents and making them available via the country’s Federal Archives.

The foundation is now scrutinizing 1,039 works from Gurlitt’s collection, it said, of which 152 have produced some provenance evidence or claims from possible heirs that indicate they could be Nazi loot.

Its work continues until December.

“One of the biggest challenges is reaching reliable conclusions and addressing research gaps, especially in such a short period of time,” the foundation’s Nadine Bahrmann said in an email.


DALLAS: With unibrows and flowers in their hair, more than 1,000 people came to a Dallas museum dressed as Frida Kahlo as part of an attempt to set a record.

The Dallas Museum of Art says more than 5,000 people attended the celebration last week marking the 110th birthday of the artist.

The museum, which partnered with the Latino Center for Leadership Development for the attempt, said evidence will be submitted to Guinness World Records next week and the review process will take up to 12 weeks.

Participants were asked to create a unibrow, put flowers in their hair, wear a red or pink shawl and a flower-printed dress.

The museum is currently featuring an exhibition called “Mexico 1900-1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Jose Clemente Orozco, and the Avant-Garde.”

BRIGHTON: Paint-brushes and chisels are the familiar tools of painters and sculptors through the ages, but one British artist is creating pictures using an unusual instrument for the visual arts: a typewriter.

Keira Rathbone, born in 1983, creates portraits and streetscapes with a typewriter’s letters and symbols. Though infrequently seen in the digital age, typewriter art was popular in the 1940s and was used by artists like the American Paul Smith.

Completing a picture can take Rathbone hours or even days, and even a tiny mistake can result in significant effort going to waste, as errors are extremely difficult to remove or cover.

Rathbone said that her unusual artistic discipline means that at times she sees her surroundings in typographic terms.

“So, I’ll be looking at you and seeing bracket, bracket, bracket… or, yeah, my eye gets more honed in and I’ll be thinking ‘I’, ‘I’, hyphen”, she said.

Rathbone began typewriter art in 2003, and has had her work exhibited in galleries around the UK. Though she focuses on street scenes now, in her early career she did portraits of high-profile figures and close-ups of eyes.

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