The Troubled Bear and the Palace

Walid Siti

The Troubled Bear and the Palace, 2019

Video, 10'46"

The Troubled Bear and the Palace was filmed in the area surrounding the remains of one of Saddam Hussein's many palaces, originally built in 1989, in the Gara mountains in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq. The building was not even finished when it was eventually abandoned, following Hussein’s defeat. Twenty-nine years later, in March 2018, two caged bears were returned and ceremoniously freed in this territory (their original homeland) by a group of local media and Kurdish forces. However, having lived in captivity throughout their lives, the bears struggled to survive in the wild. They are presently seeking refuge among the ruins of the palace. The surreal juxtaposition of the stressed bear and the dilapidated palace, set amongst the magnificent mountains, encapsulates the tragedy of the people of this land throughout history, and represents an unsettled landscape that has witnessed violent changes and transformations.

Courtesy of the Artist