Preview

Iraq

News
Curators

German curator kidnapped in Iraq is free again

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas voices “relief” at release of Hella Mewis, an arts manager living in Baghdad who works to promote young Iraqi artists

News
Curators

German curator kidnapped in central Baghdad

Hella Mewis, who works to promote young Iraqi artists, was abducted yesterday by unidentified men in the centre of the city

News
Mosul

Unesco's plan to ‘revive spirit’ of devastated Mosul gets under way

Initiative involves local communities in rebuilding their historic landmarks and neighbourhoods

News
Antiquities

Two trunkloads of fake Iraqi antiquities seized by UK customs

The international market is now “absolutely awash” with forgeries, says British Museum curator who examined the hoard

News
Conservation & Preservation

Restorers making headway in rehabilitation of Erbil Citadel

After setbacks related to ISIS's offensive, preservationists in northern Iraq report progress

Analysis
Heritage

If the US destroys Iranian cultural sites, President Trump will be criminally liable by international law

The US is signatory to The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, which forbids any act of hostility to cultural property

News
Conservation & Preservation

Geneva-based foundation Aliph directs $10m to heritage conservation projects in conflict zones

Sites targeted range from a Yemeni palace in ruins to a shrine destroyed by the Islamic State in Iraq

News
The Year in Review 2019

From a Paris inferno to the Leonardo tussle: the art world's top stories of 2019

We look back at the major events that made the headlines this year

News
Repatriation

Penn Museum hands over fragments of 387 ancient clay tablets to Iraqi Embassy

Archaeologists say the tablets, unearthed nearly a century ago, are akin to receipts

News
Artists

Former factory in Iraqi Kurdistan stirs hope for cultural tourism

From studio spaces to museums, a future complex holds the promise of galvanising artists

News
Venice Biennale 2019

Iraq’s national pavilion at Venice Biennale shut ‘in solidarity with popular youth uprisings’

Iraqi-Kurdish artist Serwan Baran supports the move by the Ruya Foundation, saying “the people will prevail as long as we are with them”

News
Iraq

As protests rage in Iraq, experts say culture is key to long-term reconstruction

Iraqi culture ministry announces new national museum in Baghdad as Mosul restoration plan is extended to historic churches

News
Middle East

Tate's huge 'Guernica of the Arab world' is recreated in tapestry so it can travel the world

Dia al-Azzawi's Sabra and Shatila Massacre has been commissioned by a Lebanese art foundation as an "archive of history"

News
British Museum

British Museum director endorses controversial sponsor BP as part of future vision

Oil company will support one exhibition at the museum next year, but not a show dedicated to the people of the Arctic

News
Conservation & Preservation

Aliph global protection fund announces 14 projects across multiple war zones

The Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan, Syria’s Raqqa Museum and Mosul libraries all safeguarded

Preview
Exhibitions

Michael Rakowitz remakes works destroyed by Isis for first UK retrospective

Recreations of lost Assyrian reliefs will be on show in Whitechapel Gallery exhibition

News
Openings

Basrah Museum unveils three new galleries in Saddam Hussein's former palace

Sumer, Assyria and Babylonia rooms open with support from UK government's Cultural Protection Fund

News
Obituaries

Obituary: Lamia al-Gailani, the archaeologist who brought new life to the looted Basrah museum

She was a key figure in the post-war re-establishment of Iraq’s antiquities museums

News
British Museum

British Museum realises 'vase' is in fact an ancient mace-head displayed upside down

Curators discovered old mistake during research for No Man's Land exhibition

News
Art market

A record-setting $30.1m sale of an Assyrian relief at Christie's raises red flags

The 31 October sale has prompted calls for repatriation and criticism of the seller, highlighting the gap between art ethics and law

News
Artists

Art installation in Canada helps rebuild burnt-out library in Iraq

A project at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto challenges the public to help restore a Baghdad art college’s collection

News
Exhibitions

British Museum show focuses on Assyrian antiquities targeted by Islamic State

Loans likely to come from Iran—but works from the Met would not meet London museum's strict borrowing guidelines

News
Antiquities & Archaeology

Google and the World Monuments Fund highlight Iraqi heritage under threat

Using drone footage, 3D models and videos, the tech giant is working with cultural institutions to make preservation efforts accessible to a larger public

Interview
Frieze New York

On the road, from Iraq to Germany

The Iraqi-Kurdish artist Hiwa K on migration and contemporary politics

News
Fourth Plinth

London's Fourth Plinth unveiled: Michael Rakowitz’s winged bull sculpture made from date syrup cans

Iraqi-American artist has recreated Assyrian lamassu destroyed by Islamic State

Archive
War & Conflict

MP Robert Jenrick leads campaign to stop Islamic State funding terror through trafficking

UK and US collaborate to cut off one of group’s top revenue streams

Archive
Exhibitions

Iraq War remembered (but not the dodgy dossier) at Imperial War Museum North

Tony Blair will not feature heavily in this exhibition - rather, those whose lives were shaped and destroyed by the conflict

Archive
Iraq

Iraq refuses to co-operate with US archaeologists unless cache of Jewish manuscripts are given back

However, operations financed by the World Monument in Babylon will not be halted

Archive
National Museum of Iraq

Blast from suicide bombing damage causes chaos at Baghdad's National Museum

Director warns of security risks in the capital

Archive
Iraq

Two artists and an soldier are taking the war in Iraq to the American people

A British conceptual artist, an Iraqi artist, and a US soldier who served in Iraq travelled from New York to Los Angeles with the remains of a car destroyed in a Baghdad bomb attack in tow

Archive
Iraq

Interview with Jeremy Deller on tackling the troubled legacy of Iraq War

Turner prize-winner to take the controversial show on a three-week tour of the US in late March

Archive
Iraq

Body of international experts head to Babylon to determine extent of damage inflicted by US army

Minister wants to reopen Baghdad Museum despite risks

Archive
Iraq

Ex-head of Iraq's board of antiquities estimates 10 years of restoration for Babylon

The integrity of the historic site did not factor into US strategy, proven by the construction of an adjacent military base

Archive
United Kingdom

British Army to help Iraq turn Saddam Hussein’s Lakeside Palace into a museum

British Museum also offers to assist Iraqis to present antiquities

Archive
National Museum of Iraq

Two books survey the deterioration of Iraq's cultural heritage fives years after war took hold

Sorry tales of devastation and waste, with little hope on the horizon

Archive
News

Iraq war thwarts loans to Louvre for “Babylon” show

Negotiations have lasted five years only to fall through due to security issues

Archive
Iraq

The Iraq war in watercolour: Interview with Steve Mumford

The artist has visited Iraq five times, and has no qualms about placing himself in the line of fire to document the conflict

Archive
Iraq

International backing secured for the recuperation of Babylon after disturbances by US military bases

The World Monuments Fund will educate Iraqi experts tasked with keeping the ruins in good condition

Archive
March 2008

Why the US military's proposal to dispose of Saddam Hussein’s Victory Monument is misguided

They represent good and bad aspects of Iraq’s modern history and cannot simply be obliterated

Archive
Iraq

5 years after the Baghdad Museum's looting, a little optimism is finally appropriate: Interview with the British Museum's John Curtis

The situation at the Baghdad Museum remains bleak but thieves are less of a problem at archaeological sites

Archive
Unesco

Samarra mosque at risk from new police barracks

There are fears that the new station will be a target for insurgents; Unesco powerless to protect the World Heritage site

Archive
Antiquities & Archaeology

UCL damned over handling of looted Aramaic antiquities

A report which concluded that ancient bowls on loan from a Norwegian collector “must have been illegally excavated in Iraq” has not been made public

Archive
Antiquities & Archaeology

Careful arrangements are being made for scholars cataloguing cuneiform tablets at SOAS following dispute at UCL

Some of these tablets originate from Iraq

Archive
Antiquities & Archaeology

An international mission had found no evidence of recent looting at eight sites in south Iraq; some archaeologists were far from pleased

The unwelcome truth

Archive
Antiquities & Archaeology

Iraqi Prime Minister pushes for Samarra rebuild after mosque loses final minarets in second attack

At least 18 shrines have been attacked since last February, says antiquities head

Archive
Antiquities & Archaeology

Incantation bowls returned to collector after being subject of a recent independent inquiry

The objects have been on loan to UCL since 1995

Archive
Artist interview

The art of protest: Interview with Nancy Spero

Still angry in her 80s

Archive
Lawsuits

Norwegian collector to sue British university for return of his antiquities

But scholars say they are likely to have been looted from Iraq

Archive
Features

US army collection: Looking at the art of the Iraq war

A collection of paintings is stored in a basement in Washington, DC. The artists are serving—or have served—in the US Army

Archive
Museums & Heritage

News from the US: Bush and Blair go under the (sledge) hammer, the Whitney suffers loan woes, and Rakowitz can't get a date

Tate’s US patrons applaud the destruction of cake effigies, while MoMA makes life difficult

Archive
Iraq

Statue of King Entemena looted from Baghdad's National Museum recovered in New York

Following its disappearance in 2003 and an international sting, the Sumerian statue was retrieved

Archive
Iraq

Minaret of Ana likely the "obelisk" said to have been lost in Iraq bombings

Professor Alistair Northedge asserts that the minaret is the only structure that fits a description provided by US marines

Archive
Iran

Iran takes first step in reconstruction of Samarra mosque, a casualty of sectarian reprisals in Iraq

The shrine's restoration, which will be paid for by private sector investment, has been the subject of a deal brokered between ICHTO and the Iraqi Ministry of Culture

Archive
Iraq

Iraq was turned into the world centre for the destruction and looting of some of humanity’s most ancient symbols of civilisation

And so it came to pass that not a single world renowned site or treasured museum was protected

Archive
Iraq

Invasive US security measures place Samarra’s heritage at risk

A giant embankment built around the city has reduced attacks on US troops, but may have compromised important sites

Archive
Antiquities & Archaeology

Studying unprovenanced antiquities: The question of Schøyen's incantation bowls

University College London has set up an inquiry to examine the origin of “looted” bowls on loan from a Norwegian collector

Archive
Samarra Mosque

Samarra mosque's spiral minaret targeted by bombers

Insurgents allegedly staged the attack to prevent US troops using the tower as a vantage point

Archive
Antiquities & Archaeology

US snipers co-opt Samarra mosque’s spiral minaret

The US military says “military necessity” takes precedence over the safeguarding of this Islamic landmark

Archive
Iraq

The destruction of culture in Iraq has been enormous; now conservation must be a priority

We can help by providing training in site management techniques, in museology and in conservation

Archive
Disasters & destruction

US base has caused "shocking" damage to Babylon

The American contractor that built the infrastructure for a base adjacent to the ancient site is responsible for much of the destruction, says an independent report

Archive
Iraq

Zainab Bahrani, cultural advisor to Iraq's provisional government, resigns after three months

In an article Bahrani wrote for the Guardian, she stated “[We have seen the] active destruction of the archaeological and historical record of the land”

Archive
Law

Under Article 7 of United Nations Resolution 1483, UK citizens who refuse to consign Iraqi artefacts are partaking in criminal activity

If an item is not immediately handed over to a “constable”, its owner could be receiving a prison sentence, even if he has legal title to the object

Archive
Iraq

Iraq's Ministry of Culture takes reins from Coalition Provisional Authority as Zainab Bahrani is elected as senior consultant

The US-Iraqi academic has turned her attention to addressing the unauthorised excavation of archaeological sites

Archive
Iraq

Sudden and draconian consequences of the Iraq war imposed by the United Nations to ensure objects illegally removed during the war are returned

If a person in the UK who has a cultural item of Iraqi origin in his possession does not immediately hand that item over to a “constable”, he may now be guilty of a criminal offence and liable to imprisonment, even if he has legal title to the object

Archive
Antiquities & Archaeology

Iraq's legacy of neglect and conflict: Interview with the Coalition Provisional Authority's senior adviser for culture, John Russell

The ambassador assesses the situation on the ground and recommends that swift action must be taken if cultural landmarks are to remain

Archive
Exhibitions

Exhibition of Nimrud gold directed by the Copenhagen's United Exhibits Group coming to Europe in 2005

The venture is backed by the Iraqi authorities, who have a stake in the newfound Iraq Project Company

Archive
Getty Conservation Institute

Getty Trust and World Monuments Fund team up for Iraq conservation

The organisations will survey the condition of the country’s historic sites and then raise money for their restoration

Archive
Iraq

Iran offers to help Iraq protect its heritage

By expressing their wish to join an international cultural task force, Iran acknowledges the mutual cultural history that ties the two countries

Archive
War & Conflict

Mesopotamian art from University of Pennsylvania continues US tour

Highlights from the university's museum on show in 'Treasures from the royal tombs of Ur'

Archive
Iraq

Military personnel unearth secret hoard of Jewish manuscripts belonging to Saddam Hussein in search for weapons of mass destruction

Found in the headquarters of Saddam’s secret police force in Baghdad, the cache has been transferred to Washington for conservation

Archive
Museums

Official recognition for Prado director sacked for signing petition against 1991 war in Iraq

"I served with all my might", said Alfonso Perez Sanchez

Archive
War & Conflict

British Museum buys Iraq “most wanted” cards

The cards were issued to US troops in Iraq to help them identify the enemy

Archive
Iraq

The Coalition Provisional Authority is considering a proposal to send Iraq's Nimrud gold on a global tour

The exhibition could raise money to repair the ransacked National Museum of Iraq

Archive
Iraq

Dutch overseeing southern Iraqi province of al-Muthanna help Bedouin family guard the Sumerian site

The Americans did not list protection of Uruk as necessary when they handed over administration to the Netherlands

Archive
Iraq

Details of National Museum of Iraq looting emerge

While the Warka Vase has been accounted for, reports suggest that the cylinder seal collection has vanished

Archive
Looted art

Unchecked looting of archaeological sites continues in midst of Iraqi war

The Art Newspaper takes inventory of the worst casualties

Archive
Disasters & destruction

Philippe de Montebello on the sack of the Iraq Museum: “Is it sensible for all the eggs to be in one basket?”

The Art Newspaper speaks to the director of the Metropolitan about the historical significance of the Iraq Museum's plunder and how disasters of its kind can be dealt with

Archive
Iraq

International outrage as Iraq's National Museum is sacked by civilians

American army says it was aware of the risks, but did not protect the building as Iraqi nationals overwhelmed staff who attempted to defend the collection

Archive
War & Conflict

Images of the Iraq war

Brutality and the bad, bad taste of evil

Archive
US politics

Artists lead anti-war protests as the US prepares to invade Iraq

Polls show the public could not care less what the art world thinks

Archive
Iraq

American war in Iraq: What a tragic farce

Iraq war poses significant risk to cultural treasures in the region

Archive
War & Conflict

Archeologists and lawyers are urging the US government to take account of historic sites in Iraq as the military draws up its strategy

Iraq’s history is our history too

Archive
Iraq

Iraqi government's dam across Tigris will bring to an end the ancient city of Assur

The ancient Assyrian empire, along with over a hundred other heritage sites, will face detrimental flooding

Archive
Antiquities & Archaeology

Cloistered Nimrud treasures to be discussed by Iraqi scholars at delayed British Museum conference

Few have seen the Nimrud gold, a cache of eighth-century BC Assyrian royal gold

Archive
Iraq

National Museum of Iraq recovers 5,000 Sumerian artefacts

Archaeologists descended upon three sites in Southern Iraq rumoured to contain antiquities

Archive
Iraq

Assyrian stone relief slabs from Sennacherib's Palace in Iraq may have been smuggled from the country and sold on

Professor John Malcolm Russell's personal connection to the objects left him well placed to recognise them in images from sales

Archive
Iraq

Iraq's cultural heritage continues to be depleted as museums and archaeological sites plagued by smugglers

In a lecture given at London's Institute of Archaeology, Dr Lamia al Galiani-Werr drove home the urgency of the issue

Archive
Iraq

Non-compliance with Security Council’s resolutions holds up UNESCO mission to reunite Iraq with treasures lost in Gulf War

More than 4,000 museum items missing according to Director General of the Iraqi Antiquities Department

Archive
Iraq

Iraqis deny thefts from the Muslim shrines of Kerbala and Najaf

Follows disappearance of jewels, manuscripts

Archive
Iraq

How the proximity of US servicemen to Iraq's city of Ur has caused alarm among archaeologists

As US troopers praise the Lord, reports of damage in Iraq remain unconfirmed

Archive
Iraq

Ancient city inside Iraqi airbase, Ur of the Chaldees, narrowly avoids annihilation by US forces

Attack on ziggurat stopped by unknown American officer

Archive
March 1991

How Saddam Hussein's ideology was enshrined in his art commissions

New book "The Monument" explains why greater attention to the Iraqi director’s iconography might have illuminated Western politicians as to his ambitions

Archive
Looted art

How forces invading Iraq neglected to make provisions for heritage sites

Unlike in World War II, no commission exists to advise the military