The Stone Man | The American University of Iraq Sulaimani

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The Stone Man

 Photos: Kashkul

The Stone Man is an art project lead by renowned artist Ismail Khayat and Kashkul, in partnership with The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS). 

About the Project:

Over the course of his lifetime, renowned Kurdish artist Ismail Khayat has amassed a body of work that is both internationally recognized and regionally impactful. He has concerned himself with people, portraying them as they are or as they may be, advocating for peace in his most lasting projects: his painted stones. To celebrate his life, his work, and the rising generation of artists who will carry on his legacy, AUIS is partnering with Kashkul - a research, preservation and translation collaborative based in Sulaimani - to host an event that looks both backwards and forwards.

Looking back, Kashkul will digitize and commemorate his life’s work, creating both an online archive and an in-person exhibit, a retrospective. Looking forward, we will take on student-artists from Sulaimani, giving them mentorship and additional artistic training with Khayat himself. Together, Khayat and his students will launch a sculpture garden of stones gathered from around the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, a sculpture garden we hope other artists will contribute to over time.

AUIS and Kashkul will host a public reception to open a week-long retrospective of Khayat's work and the Sculpture Garden on October 26, 2017.


The Sculpture Garden will feature the work of student-artists from all over the country, representing both AUIS and Sulaimani University, who are working under Khayat's supervision this month. The selected group of young people will work with Khayat to learn about the human artistic history with stone, Khayat's technique, and create a sculpture garden of painted stones at AUIS, a sculpture garden we hope other artists will contribute to over time.

Follow Kashkul and AUIS on Facebook for photos, videos and updates about the project. 

About the Partners: 

Kashkul is a research, preservation, and translation collective composed of students and scholars based at AUIS. Kashkul is a Partner in the International Digital Ephemera Project (IDEP) at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) library, which publishes materials Kashkul collects and makes them available to a wide audience in the United States. 

Ismail Khayat (1944-) is an artist of international renown. He received local and global attention for his painting and advocacy for peace between Erbil and Sulaimani after the Kurdish Civil War (1994-1996). Khayat grew up in Khanaqin, in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region. He graduated from Ba’quba Teachers Training School in 1966 and continued on to work as an artist and art teacher in various schools throughout Sulaimani. Over the course of his life, he has opened more than 50 exhibitions around the world, including in the United States and Europe.  

Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, is an independent, not-for-profit university dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and research. Its comprehensive liberal arts education develops leaders who make a difference in Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan, and the wider region. Reflecting Sulaimani’s location at an international crossroads, the University’s 1,600 students and 240 faculty and staff include Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, Ezidis, and Christians who live and study together in a culture that fosters critical thinking, tolerance, and community involvement.