USA: Iraqi artists denied visas for travelling to the USA for MoMA exhibition

22 November 2019
Image: MoMa / Jon Rubin on Flickr


Iraqi artists participating in The Gulf Wars exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York were declined travel visas to the USA, reported Hyperallergic. The artists were unable to attend the exhibition in the USA due to the Trump administration’s travel ban or their asylum status, which complicates travelling possibilities.

The exhibition Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars, 1991–2011 gathered more than 250 works focusing on American military actions in Iraq created by 80 artists.

 “A handful of artists faced some sort of obstacle in coming to the US,” one of the exhibition’s curators Ruba Katrib told Hyperallergic. “They were either denied or they knew they couldn’t come.”

According to Hyperallergic, Dutch-Iraqi artist, Afifa Aleiby is one of the participants who had her travel visa refused. The artist claims that she was not granted an online admission for Dutch citizens because, as it was explained to her, she would have to apply for a visa based on the fact that she was born in Iraq.

Ali Eyal is an artist based in Baghdad who could not attend the exhibition because Iraq is listed on the Trump administration’s travel ban.

The travel ban has been in place since December 2017 and was introduced by presidential order. The ban suspends visa applications from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, and Venezuela.

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