We are so used to images of Iraq at war that it is hard to imagine it as anything other than a place we associate with bombs, kidnappings and internecine strife. It is important to remember that Iraq has a long history, perhaps longer than any other. There was a time of peace and prosperity before the current violence and remembering that we can perhaps imagine a future when Iraq is at peace again.
Shigeru Yoshihara worked in Iraq during the 1970s as an electrical engineer, and was fascinated by this land that cradled the world’s earliest civilization. The photographs he took then present abundant images of a land at peace; both beautiful and calm… His exhibition, Imagine Iraq, will be held at Cafe Kazenone from September 24th until October 3rd (closed on the 27th & 28th). Opening hours are from 12:00 -20:30. The exhibition is free of charge. There are more details here in Japanese.
In addition there will be two related events both at Cafe Kazenone. On Friday September 24th Naoko Takato will give a talk entitled “What was the Iraq War?” Naoko Takato is an NGO activist who while engaged in supporting the people of Iraq, was abducted near Fallujah in 2004 and freed after nine days. Criticised by the Japanese government and media as irresponsible she continues to visit the country and speak out about the Iraq War and says “Nothing can make me dislike the Iraqi people’. The talk is scheduled for 18:30-20:30.
Also on Saturday October 2nd between 18:30 – 20:00, the photographer Shigeru Yoshihara will be interviewed by Mari Oka (associate professor of contemporary Arabic at Kyoto University). Both of these events are in Japanese and require some form of donation. Seats are limited, so to book in advance mail Mizuno-san at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 090-2044-4544.
Cafe Kazenone is a short walk south of Demachiyanagi station. Head east from Demachiyanagi and when you see a 7/11 on your left take the road to your right. It’s a little ways down there on the west (right hand) side. Here is a map.
Thanks to Hito for sending me this information!