October 19, 4pm * Twelve Gates Arts * 106 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

A People’s Tribunal: 28 Exhibits

October 19, 2019, 4-6PM
Twelve Gates Arts, 106 N. 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Performers: Dena Al-Adeeb, Amina Ahmed, Fadaa Ali, Yaroub Al-Obaidi, Nada El-Khouny, Hatif Farhan, Kazem Ghouchani, Maryam Jahanbin, Luma Jasim, Mohammed Okab, Hussein Smko

Organizers: Dena Al-Adeeb, Shimrit Lee, Nataša Prljević, Farideh Sakhaeifar

28 Exhibits is a performative tribunal that brings together a group of artists, activists, and scholars to account for the impact of global counterinsurgency doctrine. With storytelling, installation, and song as "evidence," the tribunal interrogates the rhetoric that has fueled the lasting trauma of the U.S. War in Iraq, while building a collective archive that fosters alternative spaces of restitution for evaluating the war on terror.

Our starting point is “Twenty-Eight Articles”, a 2006 paper written by Australian strategist David Kilcullen used to advise General David Petraeus, who helped design the Iraq War troop search. The “Twenty-Eight Articles”, a nod to T.E. Lawrence’s “twenty-seven articles” on tribal desert warfare from 1917, describes counterinsurgency as “armed social work,” and urges the modern counter-insurgent to “engage the women, beware the children,” “know the turf,” “remember the global audience,” and above all, “keep the initiative.” The document was later formalized as an appendix to the FM 3-24, the U.S. military’s counterinsurgency doctrine, and has been in use by U.S., British, Canadian, Dutch, Iraqi and Afghan armies as a training document. 28 Exhibits will be set up like a trial, in which excerpts of Kilcullen's articles will be critically evaluated through artistic intervention.

28 Exhibits is an extension of Clear-Hold-Build, an exhibit currently on view in Philadelphia's Twelve Gates Arts, which brings together artists to survey the impact of counterinsurgency over the past seven decades. Clear-Hold-Build is curated by Shimrit Lee, Joshua Nierodzinski and Nataša Prljević of HEKLER, an artist-run collaborative platform that fosters critical examination of hospitality and conflict. The event 28 Exhibits is the product of a collaboration between HEKLER and exhibiting artists Dena Al-Adeeb and Farideh Sakhaeifer.

This is an intimate event with limited seating. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to heklerke@gmail.com.


Amina Ahmed was born in East Africa and is a Kutchi Turk Indian. She grew up in England and has lived in Iran and the USA. Ahmed is a graduate of Winchester School of Art and the Chelsea School of Art. She received her MFA from the Royal College of Art (1991), where she specialized in Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts and was awarded the Barakat Trust prize for excellence. A visual artist, educator and activist, Ahmed is a board member for the Muslim Women’s institute for Research and Development, and Advisory board for Zanbeel Arts and Twelve Gates Gallery and Women’s Voices Now. Her projects are inspired by her interests in human rights and coalition-building. She has worked with several non-profit art institutions in the US and UK. Her work has been exhibited in the USA South Asia and Europe, Ahmed is a former studio member of the EFA NYC and is currently a Studio Resident at Mana Contemporary NJ. She lives in New Jersey.

Fadaa Ali,

Yaroub Al-Obaidi,

Nada El-Kouny is a former Egyptian journalist, current film producer for animated documentaries, and PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at Rutgers University whose work investigates the role of infrastructure in citizenship-claiming and state-making in rural Egypt, through a joint ethnographic and historical lens.

Hatif Farhan is an Iraqi writer and photographer, based in Baghdad, Iraq. Farhan got the creativity photography award in 2015 from The Eyes of Culture and Arts Foundation. His photos were published in a large number of Arabic magazines and books. His words on photography "The picture is an attempt to save the moment of the inevitable death and give it a permanent life. The picture is a witness to history and one of the sources of its codification." Hatif is interested in the impact of time on everything and he gives special attention to the marginalized and displaced people and the crushed wars and crises.

Kazem Ghouchani,

Luma Jason,

Mohammed Okab,

Hussein Smko is a self-trained dancer and choreographer of Arab/Kurdish roots who was spotted by the Battery Dance Company through social media in 2014. Trained via Skype, Smko emigrated to the United States in 2016 and began his residency with Battery Dance as the first recipient of the Adel Euro Campaign for Dancers Seeking Refuge (2017). Since then he has performed at the Battery Dance Festival and as part of the company's residency with the Fort Wayne Dance Collective. He has taught for Battery Dance in New York City public schools, at the New York Public Library, and at USC in Los Angeles, for a Spoken Word and Dance program with Iraqi journalist Riyadh Mohammed.