This October saw the launch of Ruya Maps
, a non-profit organisation which will work with visual artists in areas of social or political instability globally. A sister organisation of the Iraq-based Ruya Foundation, best known for commissioning the Iraq Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Ruya Maps will work with artists from countries around the world. The programme launched with an exhibition of Venezuelan artist Pepe López at the Fitzrovia Chapel, London.
Ruya Maps diverse programme will combine a series of international exhibitions, introducing culture generated in areas of discord to new global audiences, with accessible projects taking place in areas currently or recently affected by political or military conflicts, including refugee camps. Projects will include artist commissions, workshops, talks and collaborations with local initiatives. Ruya Maps will also produce original digital content, as well as print publications, to further expand the reach of its activities.
The overall aims of the programme are to enable artists working in areas of discord to participate in international cultural exchange and to encourage a wider understanding of global challenges through the testimony of real-time, creative witnesses. Ruya Maps is designed to address specific needs, identified by the Ruya Foundation whilst carrying out its unique work in Iraq, that were found to be applicable internationally.
The Ruya Foundation is the only organisation working with contemporary Iraqi artists on the ground in the country and the development of Iraqs contemporary cultural landscape has been hindered by years of military and political unrest. Ruya Maps will examine the impact of military and political unrest on culture in territories internationally.
Tamara Chalabi is Director of Ruya Maps and Paolo Colombo acts as Curatorial Advisor. Tamara Chalabi has said: Ruya Maps aims to keep culture alive in a shifting constellation of places and circumstances, establishing cultural legacies for some of the worlds most disempowered communities for generations to come. By presenting thought-provoking projects internationally, Ruya Maps will grant access to artists who are excluded from the international art world due to political, economic or geographical factors. Ruya Maps will also allow international audiences to engage with many of the difficult subjects of our times through the universal language of art.