7 Iraqi Creatives Making Their Mark Across the Globe

These are the names to keep on your radar

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With the world zeroing in on its politics, Iraq’s creative scene has consequently suffered. But that doesn’t mean it’s been completely sidelined. 

The nation, which carries a rich history as one of the region’s culture capitals, has birthed a slew of creative forces that have carried on its legacy within and outside of its borders. The likes of Zaha Hadid, of course go without mention. 

But if you’re hoping to get an eyeful of what Iraq’s contemporary cultural forces have up their sleeves, these are the ones to follow. 

Narcy 

 

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He might be based in Canada, but Narcy’s mark on the region is undeniable. The Dubai-born rapper and author is fresh off publishing his first book ‘Text Messages: How I Found Myself Time Travelling’, and just released his latest EP ‘Meme Against The World’ this week, a four track project created alongside producer Thanks Joey. Yassin Alsalman, as he’s also known for his collaborations with the likes of Yasiin Bey, A Tribe Called Red and the region’s very own Mashou’ Leila

Chebmoha

 

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If there’s one Iraqi photographer and designer to keep an eye on, it’s Chebmoha. The brainchild behind cult Dubai-based lifestyle label Shabab International, Chebmoha has made a name for himself in the region over the years. The 28-year-old has lensed campaigns for some of the world’s biggest labels—think Nike, Carhartt, and Gucci. Working alongside Omani photographer Chndy, Chebmoha has also shot the cover of GQ Middle East, starring Majid Jordan. 

DJ MoCity

 

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Born and raised in Baghdad and New Delhi, DJ MoCity isn’t your typical hip-hop connoisseur. DJ MoCity founded one of South Asia’s first community radios, Boxout.fm in 2015, and has since made a name for himself across the region within the music industry. He’s leading up an award-winning podcast as well, entitled Motellacast, putting the spotlight on the region’s best artists. 

Zaineb Hasoon

 

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Whether it’s fashion, jewellery design, or music, Zaineb Hasoon has done it all. The Iraqi creative works alongside her brother Chebmoha as one third of Shabab International, but it doesn’t end there. Launched in 2020, Hasoon unveiled her jewellery label Kenz Studios after spending years designing for private clients. Don’t miss out on her monthly show on Ma3azef radio either, it’s worth the hype. 

Amir Hazim

 

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You’ve probably already come across Amir Hazim’s work. The photographer was catapulted into the spotlight through his meticulous documentation of the Iraqi protests in 2020 from the frontlines of Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, armed with nothing but his iPhone. Since then, Hazim’s work has been featured in multiple exhibitions, from Dubai’s Gulf Photo Plus to the Italian Middle East Now Festival. 

Sundus Abdul Hadi

The Iraqi Montreal-based writer and artist’s list of accolades is as extensive as it is impressive. Abdulhadi both wrote an illustrated her own children’s book ‘Shams’ in 2020, centered around the concepts of trauma and healing. Shams was followed up by her first non-fiction book, Take Care of Your Self: The Art of Cultures of Care and Liberation, which takes a deep (and critical) dive into the industry of self-care, exploring the transformative power of the practice and its relation to social justice. More of Abdul Hadi’s work has been published on the likes of Scene Arabia and Medium. 

Tamara Abdul Hadi

From the New York Times and The Guardian to The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times, Tamara Abdul Hadi’s photography has been published everywhere. Typically centered on Iraqi and Arab culture, the photographer’s work has also been exhibited everywhere from Brooklyn and Malmo to Morocco and Dubai. She’s also a founding member of Rawiya Collective, a photography collective made of female photographers from the region. 

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