Subaltern Speaks

the personal the Subaltern Speaks evolved out of my personal recognition of the ongoing Iraqi struggle. As a British-born, Arab woman of Iraqi descent, I grew up distant from my Iraqi identity. The public opinion of Iraq revolved around sanctions and war, which left me feeling alienated.

This project is an effort towards paying back the unpayable debt. Taking part in the reclamation, restoration and regeneration of Iraq's richness is a response to an ethical call.

the political the artefact is an apt metaphor. A vessel that embodies a narrative, a story, a spirit of an era, it is found in private and public spaces. An artefact looted is an artefact decontextualised, reinterpreted and used as cultural capital rather than an object of meaning. It is an extension of cultural imperialism. Intangible and tangible culture is disappearing as Iraqis disengage, where the young generations rely on foreign bodies to inform what it means to be Iraqi.

To be in a prolonged critical state after the destruction of its infrastructure, overall welfare and the livelihoods of many demands immediate action.

the project Subaltern Speaks proposes a decolonial museum that seeks to repatriate Iraqi narratives - ephemeral, intangible heritage - and belongings - eternal, tangible heritage. The intervention responds to local and diasporic needs, providing a safe space in one of the most fragile areas in Iraq, Mosul.

Using novel methodologies and participatory research, understanding the needs of the ethno-cultural-religious diversity of Iraqis provided a sensitive basis to the spatial qualities of the spaces of preservation, reclamation, liberation and diasporic imaginary. Healing these relationships illustrates the necessity of intersectional design, which ultimately supports those who are marginalised due to their class, gender or racial identities.

Situtated in the ruins of the Bayt al-Maqam al-Iraqi, a once reknowned arts and music school, it conserves the integrity of the past by bringing it into the future.