Why the Kurdish-Iraqi artist Hiwa K melts weapons of war into art for everyone
‘I don’t want to overdose my work with philosophy.’
The artist Hiwa K – born in Iraqi Kurdistan and now based in Germany – is celebrated and exhibited around the globe, but he rejects what he views as the more pretentious and extravagant trappings of the art world. He says that he knew his work ‘The Bell Project’ (2007-15) had met his standard for eloquent accessibility after his mother – an art world outsider – gave it her vote of approval. For the project, Hiwa K inverted Europe’s centuries-old process of melting church bells into war weapons by melting the Western weapons that have overwhelmed his homeland into bells, and transporting them back to Europe. Part of a series by the nonprofit organisation Art21, this short film uses ‘The Bell Project’ to capture Hiwa K’s refreshingly democratic outlook on his craft.
Video by Art21
Producers: Ian Forster, Rafael Salazar, Ava Wiland