Inspired by a true story of an Arab artist living in Canada, The Mug tells the story of the agony, alienation, exploitation, nostalgia, desire and despair of an Iraqi artist who was tortured in prison during Saddam’s regime, and who lost two sons during the American invasion, to become later a refugee in Canada.
Recording and Editing by Nawfal and Ridha Al-Obied
The New Sumerians Project
Sundus Abdul Hadi
Born in 1985 in Baghdad, and lives in Ontario, Canada.
Digital Composite Image & Photography
Around 7,000 years ago, an ancient civilization known as the Sumerians settled along the banks of the Euphrates river, modern day Iraq. Their story gives clues as to our origin. Time was established as we still perceive it, and their advanced understanding of the cosmos and astronomy suggests that our ancestors had a certain access to the celestial sphere that has since been lost in translation.
THE NEW SUMERIANS is an evolving project that honours the ancestry we carry as displaced peoples. In collaboration with photographer Ahmad Nasereldein, I have created portraits that I have manipulated with the sculpted facial and body parts of Ancient Sumerians, starting with the 5,000 year old mask of “The Lady of Uruk”. This iteration begins with my origin story: my family— the microcosm. This process of transformation pays homage to our celestial ancestors, despite the passage of time and the circumstances that have propelled us away from our homeland.
These ancient sculptures carry our burdens and have witnessed our pillage. The New Sumerians is part of a larger exploration rooted in storytelling and world-building; a supernatural dimension where ancestors live amongst the unborn, and intergenerational burdens transform into wisdom.