“You think of Mosul and you think of a dangerous warzone, when actually 90 percent of it is open green fields, beautiful landscapes, dogs playin

Alexandra Howland’s Roads from Mosul was exhibited in the Bargehouse Galleries (Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, South Bank, London) in May, and will be exhibited in Baghdad and Mosul in the coming months.

Alexandra Howland, “(Family Fleeing) 36°19′13.45″N 43°06′41.68″E ” (2017-2018).
Alexandra Howland, “(Family Fleeing) 36°19′13.45″N 43°06′41.68″E ” (2017-2018).

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“Linear connection is very atypical of a conflict zone,” says the British-American artist, who moved to Iraq in early 2017 and, over the course of a year, documented Mosul Road — a 55-mile stretch between the Kurdish city of Erbil and the destroyed Al Nuri Mosque in West Mosul, once the center of ISIS Caliphate. “Normally you can’t drive into a frontline in two hours, then leave and go back and have a drink.” It is this dichotomy that Howland hopes to unpack in her recent work, Mosul Road, 88KM.

The work is a series of collaged panoramas, which the artist assembles by digitally sewing together individual freeze frames from moments captured along the road. In one, a fisherman stands with his rowboat on the Tigris River, the ruins of Old City Mosul in the distance. In another, a market on the side of the street in Erbil stays open late, its sign illuminated by a string of neon lights. “A lot of my work is about stepping as far back as I can in order to give a broader understanding,” Howland explains.

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