Iraq Is Flying
Jamal Penjweny (Iraq)

15 – 26 February 2012
5.45am – 12.15am
Esplanade Tunnel
Admission is free

“The memories from our childhood still exist, or in another expression, we still carry a bit of the child inside us. When I was a child, I used to jump with my friends for joy and happiness, and I only dreamed of watching my home from a height for no reason. But for me, jumping was also like a dream. I wanted to fly through a highest jump to watch my house and the road from the sky and to see the entire city where I was born. Now, I can see my city and even all of Iraq from the tiny window of an airplane, but everything looks different. We are flying in a big competition, but we all have forgotten the beauty of the games we had in childhood.”

“With Iraq is Flying, I wish to give Iraq’s energetic people a chance to regain their dignity, to let them jump beyond the setting of their lives and show how we all carry a bit of the child still within us.
I want all Iraq’s people to fly.”

- Jamal Penjweny

”‘Iraq is Flying’ literally shows people soaring above their situations.“
- Uplift Magazine, 2009

Relationship to Art & Faith

“The media tend to present Iraq as a tragic country. Yet a powerful picture is not necessarily the most tragic. War is always in the focus, but the lives and hopes of Iraqis are often left behind. A powerful picture should able to inspire the viewer in a series of thoughts, raise questions and shed light on the contradiction of reality, rather than provide a flat answer to what reality is.

“In 2006, I found in my archives a picture where three kids were jumping for a farewell party, and I decided to snap similar jumps of people I met in the streets of Sulaymaniyah, Baghdad, Babil, Fallujah, Kirkuk and ‘Amara.

“Those jumping in Iraq is Flying are normal people: children and adults women and men, American and Iraqi soldiers. They return briefly to their childhoods as they jump as high as they can in front of the camera. Iraq is Flying wish to make Iraqis the heroes of the history of their country, and make fly their hopes from Iraq around the world.”

- Jamal Penjweny

Photo credits: Jamal Penjweny