Video still from Manufactured Democracy video documentation, by Huner Emin. An off-white page on a white background is printed with an enlarged sepia colored fingerprint. In the lines of the fingerprint are handwritten names in Arabic calligraphy.

Mizna+RAWIFest Virtual Gallery

RAWI Board, 2023-10-26

Untitled, Firyal Bawab

two unevenly square panels in black and white sit one atop the other on a white background. in the top panel, a black haired person smiles as they are held by a light haired person. in the bottom panel, the same two people kiss, holding each other's head and chin in a sweet way.

Untitled illustration by Firyal Bawab.

Firyal Bawab (البرج الأبيض) is a 23 year old Palestinian artist living between Jordan and California. She graduated from UCLA in 2022 with a BA in International Development and a minor in Labor Studies. She was the 2021-2022 Cartoons director for the Daily Bruin, the third-largest newspaper in Los Angeles. Since then, she produces freelance illustration commissions. She is currently applying to law school and developing her children’s book illustration portfolio.

Manufactured Democracy, Huner Emin

a hand holds a calligraphy pen, writing names in Arabic calligraphy on a large sepia-colored fingerprint on paper. A video caption at the bottom reads "the number of Iraqi victims exceeds 2 million."

Video still from Manufactured Democracy video 1 by Huner Emin.

Art Installation
Ink on Paper
Light Boxes 24 x24 inches
Photo and Video Ayesha Cheema

As per the artist statement, "Manufactured Democracy is an art installation with more than 20 lightboxes, each 24 x 24 inches. On each lightbox, a piece of paper covers the light. In the shape of a Fingerprint, with an average size of 16 x 8 inches, I handwrite in Arabic calligraphy the names of Iraqi individuals who lost their lives in civil wars in Iraq since 2003. The work on paper, placed on lightboxes, is highlighted by the light reflected through fingerprint calligraphy. Fingerprints are references to Iraqi elections where voters dip their index finger in purple Ink after voting."

Please click here to view the full video, photo documentation, and artist statement for Manufactured Democracy on Huner Emin's website.

Huner Emin is a stateless multimedia Kurdish artist. He grew up in south Kurdistan/northern Iraq and is now based in Bloomington, Indiana. He works on political and social subjects relating to his life, ecosystem, and identity as a Kurd. During the Arab Spring, he performed Geruk, which questioned governmental power and political dogma and led to his arrest twice between 2011-2013. Huner has never returned since leaving Iraq in 2013 due to political and social issues. His work since has continued to comment both on his lived experiences and broader concerns in the Middle East, including honor killing traditions in 2017’s Blood Washing and the Baath regime’s 1987-1989 genocide campaign against Kurdish communities in 2016’s 180,000 Seconds. His ongoing work Manufactured Democracy features the names of Iraqi civilian victims of wars from 2003-2017 written in purple ink in the shape of fingerprints, evoking the first Iraqi election after the invasion of 2003 called the Purple Fingers Election.