Ruya Foundation for Contemporary Culture in Iraq (RUYA) is an Iraqi-registered non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 2012 by Iraq art and culture enthusiasts with the aim of aiding and enriching culture in Iraq, and building cultural bridges with the world.

The Foundation’s fundamental aim is to promote culture in Iraq – a mission with particular significance at a time when priorities are focused elsewhere – and to build a sustainable platform that will enable Iraqis in the arts, the young in particular, to benefit from and participate in international events. Concurrent with RUYA’s ongoing support of local projects, the Foundation’s focus rests on creating a network of intercultural events by which it can contribute to the development of civil society in Iraq and continue to nurture a multicultural dialogue through the arts.

The Ruya Foundation is the proud commissioner of the National Pavilion of Iraq for the 56th Venice Biennale in May 2015, following the great success of the 2013 edition, for which the Foundation commissioned Welcome to Iraq for the 55th Venice Biennale.

Welcome to Iraq was curated by Jonathan Watkins and included work by 11 contemporary Iraqi artists resident in Iraq. Representing two generations of Iraqi artists, the exhibition was an unparalleled opportunity to present Iraq’s rich contemporary culture on a global scale, on a platform visible by public audiences as well as the world’s leading art world influencers. Critical and media acclaim around the 2013 Iraq Pavilion was exceptional, including extended coverage in the Financial Times, The Art Newspaper, Art Monthly, ARTINFO, Elephant Magazine and Art Das Kunstmagazin.

The Ruya Foundation’s unique network of artists includes those working both within Iraq and throughout the diaspora, spanning all disciplines in the visual, performing and literary arts. This network provides an incomparable overview of Iraq’s contemporary culture and is open for cultural organisations to view and engage with through the Foundation. Collaborating worldwide, RUYA works with institutions worldwide to create regular and meaningful opportunities for Iraqi artists, including residencies and exhibitions.

TBurnsArts worked with RUYA to promote all of its projects to both media and institutional networks, increasing understanding around its messages while also building enduring relationships for the Foundation with some of the most important museums and institutions in the world.

Image: From the series ‘Homage to Trakowsky’ © Ayman al Amery