In 2009, the Iraqi-Dutch artist Sadik Kwaish Alfraji received a letter from his young nephew, while on a family visit in Baghdad. Ali made his uncle promise that he would only open the letter once he had returned to the Netherlands. The envelope contained a drawing of a boat and one single sentence: “I hope my boat takes me to you”.

The letter inspired Alfraji’s personal reflection on the act of “leaving” which materialised in the creation of Ali’s Boat, a multimedia installation in which the artist combines Ali’s dream of escaping from Baghdad with his own inability to return to the country that he fled twenty years ago.

As a result, the boat becomes a symbol for the imagination, a way of escaping reality, albeit fleetingly. “It doesn’t matter where you live or what you have. Everyone tries to escape from something. Ali’s boat thus becomes my boat, your boat. Everyone has his own boat.”

The central element in the exhibition is an animated film, surrounded by an Iraqi fishing boat, a series of charcoal drawings, videos and Ali’s original letter.

More here.

Practical information

‘Ali’s boat’
Sadik Kwaish Alfraji
28/04 – 28/08

Red Star Line Museum
Montevideostraat 3
2000 Antwerp
+3 298 27 70

Tuesday to Sunday
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.