Rushdi Anwar

Exhibiting at The National Museum Cardiff

In his work, Rushdi Anwar (b1971, Halabja, Kurdistan [Kurdistan-Iraq]) reflects on the sociopolitical issues that continue to mire the geopolitics of West Asia (historically known as “The Middle East”).

Credit: Rushdi Anwar

Drawing on his personal experiences of displacement, conflict and trauma endured under Iraq’s colonial and ideological regimes, Anwar’s art references and generates discourse concerning the status of social equity – exploring its political, social and religious complexity via study of form and its materiality. Embracing installation, sculpture, painting, photography and video, his practice recalls the everyday plight of the thousands displaced currently suffering discrimination and persecution, while questioning the possibility of redemption and arguing for the collective necessity to attend with empathy as a social imperative.  


Anwar earned his PhD from RMIT University, Melbourne, and is currently a Senior Lecturer in the painting department at Chiang Mai University, Thailand. He has held solo and group exhibitions in Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Japan, Kurdistan, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, the US and Vietnam. Notable recent exhibitions include “Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present”, Sharjah (2023); “Art in Conflict”, Australian War Memorial touring exhibition, various venues, Australia (2022–24); “wHole”, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (2022); “Now”, Esta Gallery at The Culture Factory, Sulaymaniyah (2022); “The Tides of the Century”, Ocean Flower Island Museum, Danzhou (2021); and “Escape Routes: Bangkok Art Biennale”, Bangkok (2020).  


Anwar currently lives between Chiang Mai, Thailand, and Melbourne, Australia. 

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Rushdi Anwar 3D Tour

Originally from Halabja, Kurdistan (Kurdistan-Iraq), Rushdi Anwar draws from personal experiences and memories, to poetically reflect on contemporary issues of displacement, identity, conflict and trauma endured under colonial and ideological regimes. Based on his background as a Kurd, who has lived through the recent violence of this region, his works reference both current and historical geopolitical unrest through form, material and processes of making, recalling the everyday plight of socio-political persecution, and bringing this into relation with a wider network of human experiences and questions.

Rushdi Anwar Audio Description

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Listen to an audio description of Rushdi Anwar’s exhibition.

At The Table with Rushdi Anwar

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As part of the At The Table series, Rushdi Anwar met in conversation with Dr Omar Kholeif, Director of Collections and Senior Curator at Sharjah Art Foundation, Hawzhin Azeez, Co-Director of the Kurdish Centre for Studies and Professor of Social Anthropology at Stokholm University, Shahram Khosravi. The At The Table series was presented in partnership with British Council Wales.

Interview with ArtReview

Artes Mundi 10 Launch, National Museum Cardiff, 19th October 2023. Photography – Polly Thomas

Read the ArtReview interview with Rushdi Anwar here.


ArtReview is a media partner of Artes Mundi 10.