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Arabic Narrative, 2014, prismacolour and oil on canvas, 63 x 46 inch “Reconquista is about many stories, not least of which the story about our present times, and the ironic repetition of violent historical events in light of current geopolitics. In talking about Andalusia, Nazar is in fact not only writing about the futility of war in his native Iraq and the great loss he himself has endured, but of loss overall, for all sides involved… Front and center to Nazar’s narrative is the story of the surrendering of the keys of the city of Granada by Boabdil to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella… [He] does not seek to be bitter in his reflections and discussion of this era, but rather, to look at the nuances of the events and examine certain ironies in history’s depiction of the moment when the last Muslim King of Granada surrendered his kingdom. An Iraqi in exile in Houston, Nazar perhaps relates to Boabdil and the tragedy of being forced to leave home.

With his horses Nazar reminds us that in a war it’s not simply human beings who participate to win or lose, but that these beautiful animals also partake in the battles and that they too… pay a price when defeated. The representation of Averroes (the famed Andalusian philosopher Ibn Rushd), female figures and various motifs throughout the show are all meant to be closely scrutinized: Nazar asks viewers to reconsider this chapter of Islamic history with a gaze that dissects even the minutest of details of the story of Boadbdil and the golden age of Islamic thought in Europe… Nazar toys with the idea of palaces converted into museums as spaces, for observation and gazing upon the past [and in] presenting these works, [he] is reminding us of a time, but also warning us of the present moment when certain violent acts and modes of thinking are shaking the Arab world at large.”