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Healing Arts Venice

A six-month activation focused on Rashad Salim’s multimedia project Ark Re-imagined, at the first Iraq pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture. The programme spotlit art in community healing after major conflict and mass trauma.


Healing Arts


20 May – 21 November 2021


Via Orlanda 2, 30173 Venice Venice, Italy

Project Organisers

UN Affiliate

Healing Arts Venice was a six-month activation by Culturunners and Community Jameel centred on the presentation of Rashad Salim’s “Ark Re-imagined: the Expeditionary Pavilion”, the first national pavilion of Iraq at the International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. Coinciding with the centenary of the founding of the modern state of Iraq, the programme included a central exhibition at Ocean Space, alongside a series of dialogues and collaborations between communities in Iraq and Venice. The programme highlighted the role of art in community healing and rehabilitation after major conflicts and mass trauma.

20 May 2021 | Inaugural Event: Ark Re-imagined

The Expeditionary Pavilion

On the occasion of the first participation of Iraq at the International Architecture Exhibition, Ocean Space and Healing Arts Venice presented a dialogue between Rashad Salim (artist and pavilion exhibitor) and Markus Reymann (Director, TBA21–Academy). Opening remarks were by Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza (Founder and chairperson, TBA21) and George Richards (Director, Community Jameel, and a pilota del padiglione for the Iraq pavilion).

22 May 2021 | Reception in honour of professor Hashim Sarkis

Venezia Giardini/Arsenale

BIENNALE Architettura 2021 Healing Arts Venice "How will we live together"

Community Jameel and Healing Arts Venice hosted this special event to honour the curator of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition and the Dean of the MIT School of Architecture, Hashim Sarkis. The reception was held at Hotel Bauer Palazzo and hosted by Fady Jameel (Vice Chairman, Community Jameel).

27 August 2021 | Film Screening

Cinema Gilleggiante

Chiara Becattini

Photo by Chiara Becattini

Ark Re-imagined participated in Cinema Galleggiante (Floating Cinema): Unknown Waters, an open-air film festival on the Venice Lagoon.  In partnership with Healing Arts Venice, Cinema Galleggiante presented an exclusive short film about the Ark Re-Imagined project directed by Giorgio Bosisio.

1 September 2021| Ark Re-imagined Exhibition

Ark Re-imagined Iraqi National Pavillion Venice Biennale 2021

Curated by Safina Projects, the "Ark-Reimagined: the Expeditionary Pavilion" by Rashad Salim looked to the origins of Iraq's architectural legacy, celebrating the vernacular architecture and watercraft of the Tigris-Euphrates river system. The Ark Re-imagined project engaged artisans across central, southern, and western Iraq to revive and document what remains of traditional boatbuilding, architecture, and craft practices, and explored links between Venice's delta wetland environment and proud boating traditions and those of Basra and the Ahwar (marshlands) of southern Iraq.

6 October 2021 | Meetings on Architecture

Refugees and Reconstruction

Moderated by: Hashim Sarkis (curator of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition), this symposium examined the role that architecture could play in addressing the challenges of displacement and reconstruction. Healing Arts Venice participated with Rashad Salim (Panel 2: Post war reconstructions in the Arab World) and George Richards (Panel 3: Restoration of Craft, Restoration through Craft).

24 October | Hope is a Creative Act

Raising of Agnes Denes' Flag in Venice

The American environmental artist, Agnes Denes, installed her flag “The Future is Fragile, Handle with Care" in the rising waters around Venice, as a cultural call to action for improved mental, social and environmental health in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. A film of the installation, produced by Culturunners and Vivobarefoot, and narrated by Christopher Bailey (Arts &Health Lead, WHO), was released on UN Day – marking the 76th anniversary of the inauguration of the UN and and coinciding with COP26, which offers world leaders a forum to tackle the pressing challenge of climate change.


  • CORRECT 5 Rashad Salim Wetlands An Expeditionary Journey
  • CORRECT Reed bundle architecture and Ark Re imagined modelling copyright Rashad Salim 2018
  • CORRECT Atlas Ark installation 1

Artist Rashid Salim Research for Ark Re-imagined at the Venice Biennale 2021.

Ark Re-imagined Exhibition view at the Venice Biennale 2021.

Exhibition view Ark Re-imagined at the 17th Venice Architectural Biennale.

Ark re-imagined film screening at the floating Cinema Gilleeggiante

Photo by Chiara Becattini

Ark re-imagined film screening at the floating Cinema Gilleeggiante

Photo by Chiara Becattini

Ark re-imagined film screening at the floating Cinema Gilleeggiante

Photo by Chiara Becattini

Traditional marsh boat crafting

Rashad Salem's Atlas Ark Installation at Ark Re-imagined, 17th International Architectural Venice Biennale


Rashad Nov 2019 9fa54d402060521937a4e343040c640e

Rashad Salim

Expeditionary Artist and founder of Ark Re-Imagined


Markus Reymann

Co-founder TBA21 Academh


George Richards

Director, Community Jameel


Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza

Founder and chair of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21).


Fady Jameel

Vice Chairman, Community Jameel


Hashim Sarkis

Curator, 17th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale de Venezia


Agnes Denes