Art Opening: Greetings Withoug Flowers. Opening

Thu, September 8, 2005 6:00 pm at Melville Gallery, South Street Sea Port Museum

(View all art openings »)

CONTACT: Mahdis Keshavarz, 212.260.5000


Life-Size Images of Iraqis to Bring a Rare View of Iraq and the Iraqi People into Lower Manhattan

Opening Reception Thursday, September 8, 2005, 6-8pm Melville Gallery, South Street Sea Port Museum

September 4, 2005, New York, NY-- The first major public art project in New York about Iraq and the Iraqi people since the US occupation is set to launch on September 8, 2005. Greetings Without Flowers is an exhibit of life-size photographs of Iraqi people installed in various public spaces in Lower Manhattan. Greetings Without Flowers is a series of photographs by Alwan for the Arts 2005 Artist in Residence, the Iranian-born filmmaker and photographer Kouross Esmaeli. The photographs were taken in various cities of Iraq in November and December 2003 a few months after the official end of the conflict. Esmaeli traveled to Iraq to co-produce an episode of MTV’s True Life series about life in Iraq from the perspective of American soldiers and young Iraqis. While there, Esmaeli took time off to wander the streets of Iraq with his photo camera. His fluency in Arabic and familiarity with the culture allowed him to meet many people who actively or discreetly asked to be photographed. In an effort to bring alternative images of Iraq to the American public, the photos depict a wide range of scenarios, from mothers holding their children to men relaxing in a mosque, from fish sellers in an open market to a carpenter in his small shop. The photos create an otherwise absent human and everyday encounter between the Iraqi and the American people.

Despite having been denied access at several locations in Lower Manhattan, including the campus of a major college, Esmaeli’s photographs will be installed in New York from September 8th-22nd. In a joint effort, the Middle Eastern organization Alwan for the Arts and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council have sponsored the project as part of LMCC’s “What Comes After: Cities, Art and Recovery” summit in commemoration of the fourth anniversary of September 11th. The opening reception for the summit will be on Thursday, September 8, 2005, 6-8pm at the Melville Gallery, South Street Sea Port Museum.

Greetings Without Flowers will be installed at various locations including: 45 John Street, 15 Nassau Street (on Pine Street), and at the Melville Gallery at 213 Water Street. The photos will be up September 8th-22nd. The project will then travel to Boston where it will be installed in the Grand Concourse of the city’s main commuter train terminal, the South Station from September 26th-October 10th. You can read more about the exhibit and see a few of the artist’s visual studies of the photographs at:

The sponsoring organization, Alwan for the Arts is a non-profit organization serving New York City and its Middle Eastern & North African communities since 1998. Using culture and the arts to enrich the cross-cultural encounter, Alwan offers a wide range of programs such as art exhibits, film screenings, book/poetry readings and signings, lectures, musical and theatrical performances, as well as language and literature classes. Having acquired a studio space in lower Manhattan, Alwan is the first space of its kind in New York promoting the culture and arts of the Middle East and North Africa.

Last updated: 2007-09-26 10:28:15

Melville Gallery, South Street Sea Port Museum

213 Water Street
New York, NY 10038

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