Established in 2009 at the heart of Erbil’s Shanidar Park, the Shanidar Gallery has already hosted more than 150 exhibitions of local and international artists’ works since it first opened its doors to the public.
Those doors have remained open from dawn until midnight each day, welcoming more than a million visitors to date.
The gallery’s director, Hawkar Rskin, spoke to Erbil Lifestyle of the vision behind the project and the arduous years of struggle leading up to the gallery’s inauguration two years ago.
Rskin first had the idea of opening a gallery in the center of the Kurdistan capital in 2005. With a deep conviction that the city needed a dedicated public venue to showcase the works of the region’s artistic community, Rskin took on the daunting task of putting the wheels of the project in motion.
Have faced much resistance and many bureaucratic setbacks in the early years, Rskin was given a break in 2008 when the Erbil Governorate finally gave the project its backing.
From early on, the gallery was greatly supported by the Hawkar Group for Artistic Creation, Rskin explained. This support has grown steadily over the years and today Hawkar is one of the gallery’s major contributors.
“Throughout the past 24 months, the Hawkar Group for Artistic Creation has taken on the financial responsibility of managing the Gallery in order to serve the artistic development of this ancient city, further entrench the culture of visiting galleries and help Kurdistan to keep abreast of artistic developments in the wider world.”
Rskin puts the success of the gallery down to its advantageous position in the center of one of Erbil’s busiest parks, and its long opening hours that facilitate public access.
Due to the sheer volume of visitors, Shanidar Gallery is now embarking on an extensive expansion project, adding a new exhibition hall – “The Neanderthal Gallery” – to host specialized exhibitions in parallel to the existing hanging space.
True to Rskin’s initial vision, the Shanidar Gallery has successfully raised public awareness to the region’s rich plethora of creative talents and made gallery visiting an activity that people from all walks of life can enjoy.
Address: Halabja Str. Erbil. Iraqi Kurdistan Region
Information: 00964 (0)750 7393680
Opening hours: Every day 09:00 to 23:00
Guided tour bookings: Friday 09:00 – 23:00 – for more information Contact: 00964 (0) 750 4826552
Admission fees: Free entrance
Transportation: Taxi. Shanidar Park, Halabja Str.
Bus 1. 30m Str. Shekhi choli enter square
Bus 2. 60m Str. Alban enter square.
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