Nedim Kufi is an Iraqi-Dutch visual artist. He was forced to leave his hometown of Baghdad in 1990 following the chaos of the First Gulf War. He is currently participating in 3D artistic visualization and environmental design for architectural projects in the Netherlands and Germany. He works with mixed media ranging from paper and flowers to earth and ceramics, in order to develop a close relationship between the disciplines of printing, etching, sculpture, and design. With his frequent use of grids in his artwork, Nedim draws on the Islamic tradition of repetition and patterning.
His project Electrify Baghdad (2008) is an amazing video work. Kufi digitally manipulated a Google Earth satellite view of Baghdad at the time of the “Shock and Awe” terror attacks in 2003. During the course of the attack, the city experienced major black-outs as a result of failing electrical systems. The explosions of bombs and missiles looked like brief pulsations of light. We could see that every neighborhood was targeted. The radar scans and military helicopters sweeping across the screen were signs that the city was under military surveillance. Towards the end of the video, as the city descends into total darkness, the artist “relights” the city transforming it into a brilliant tapestry of many points of light. Metaphorically, not only is Baghdad brought out of the darkness but also into the light of the Spirit. Electrify Baghdad is an absolutely beautiful video that communicates the artist’s profound spiritual orientation. And – it brings hope.
Kufi has done some great projects, and I’ll be sure to write more about his work sometime in the future. In the meantime, see more at Iraqi artists in exile (StationMuseum).