‘Until the River Winds Ninety Degrees West’, Iraq Pavilion

57th Venice Biennale

The installation features 6 images from Hattom’s family album, images from Iraq in the 40s-60s, where Hattom has digitally removed the people and supplemented them with descriptions of what is happening in the image. The texts are based on memories, mostly from Hattom’s father. Collaged onto landscape images from Australia.

The map in the centre is based on an excerpt taken from an ancient and holy Mandaean manuscript called ‘The Book of Rivers’. A geographical map of the world but not geographically accurate, it’s rather an imagined geography between heaven and earth.

The clay objects and cloth are Hattom’s sculptural sketches of objects typically used in Mandaean rituals and ceremonies such as baptism and marriage.

The installation explores migration, identity, water as a passage and the flawed nature of facts and fiction encapsulated in memory.