Saturday marked the beginning of Iraqi Cultural Week, as part of host Qatar’s “Doha, Capital of Arab Culture 2010.” This event, which goes through this Wednesday, features exhibitions and folk performances at the Qatar National Theatre by a delegation of Iraqi artists and cultural performers. Moubarak bin Nasser al-Khalifa, General Secretary at the Qatari Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, proclaimed Iraqi Cultural Week a celebration of “the Iraqi people’s love of life and their rich cultural heritage, despite the current situation in Iraq.”
This culture emerged in the 9th century A.D. in Baghdad, and the city has since served as a cultural hub for Arab world. It is significant that the Qatari delegation openly recognized the difficulty facing Iraqis in restoring their culture’s image in the region. Iraqi Cultural Week highlights a regional acknowledgment of the cultural contributions Iraqis have made throughout their history and have continued to make even through ongoing conflicts. Al-Khalifa further remarked, “The suffering of the Iraqis has not deterred them from cultural innovation and achievements, to revive the cultural heritage of Iraq, which used to supply the whole world with art and craft products.”
Scheduled events for Iraqi Cultural Week include: a documentary screening about Iraqi civilization and cultural treasures; a visual arts exhibition featuring photos and antiques representing old Babylonian gods; a crafts exhibition with handmade carpets and handicrafts; traditional dance performances by Iraqi National Folk Arts band; and folk music concerts.
Baghdad will serve as Arab Culture Capital in 2013.