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Walid siti
The Troubled Bear and the Palace
Experimental doc. | hdv | color | 10'53'' | United Kingdom / Iraq | 2019
The Troubled Bear and the Palace. 11 minuets. Walid Siti 2019. At the 7,000 ft peak of the Gara mountains in Kurdistan of Iraq, the remains of Saddam's palace, built in 1989, still stand. 29 years later, in March of 2018, two caged bears were escorted by a group of local media and Kurdish women forces to be ceremoniously freed at the helipad adjacent to the palace. Having lived dependently and in captivity throughout its life, the bears struggled to survive in the wild. One vanished whilst the other was at the mercy of the personnel that guard the telecommunication towers erected at the palace. The surreal juxtaposition of the stressed bear and the dilapidated palace, set amongst the magnificent mountains, encapsulates the tragedy of the people of this land throughout history, from the time of Gilgamesh to the present.
Walid Siti (b. 1954, Duhok, Kurdistan-Iraq). After graduating in 1976 from the Institute of Fine arts in Baghdad, Siti left Iraq to continue his arts education in Ljubljana, Slovenia before seeking political asylum in the UK in 1984 where he now lives and works. The work of Walid Siti traverses a complex terrain of memory and loss, in a world, which for him has been a place of constant change. The narrative of Siti’s experience, of a life lived far from but still deeply emotionally connected to the place of one’s birth, is one he shares with many exiles.