On Monday, September 15, 2014 I gave a presentation entitled “Sundus Abdul Hadi and the Narcicyst: From Weapons of Mass Destruction to Instruments of Creation.” The presentation dealt with two married artists of Arab descent who use their artistic mediums of expression to defy and transform the image of traditional marriage and hip-hop. However, it is important to note that the music and art Abdul Hadi and the Narcicyst produce is part of a movement of Arab artists who use hip-hop as a medium to challenge not just the commercialization of a youth culture, but also to redefine and recreate the image of underrepresented communities abroad.
Since the tragedy of 9/11, Iraqi-Canadian multimedia artists Abdul Hadi and the Narcicyst had begun to produce art and music that defied the negative stereotypes broadcasted by the media. Warchestra, a multimedia art project, was their response in order to challenge the misinformation and marginalization of Arab society by mainstream media. Through the creation of a soundscape, Abdul Hadi and the Narcicyst worked to “replace weapons of war with musical instruments . . . [in order] to re-imagine, re-define, and re-invent the war in Iraq as it was represented in the media” (Abdul Hadi). Instead of wielding an automatic weapon or explosives, the men’s weapons are replaced with tubas, trombones, saxophones, and clarinets. While media broadcasts images of violent and radical Arabs, Sundus and the Narcicyst use Warchestra to encourage dialogue and transform the image of the Middle East and its people.
New discussions about the future of Iraq are taking place worldwide concerning the threat of a militant group named the Islamic State, or ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), as they are commonly referred to. President Obama has commented about his stance against ISIS, but has also been careful not to declare war. Recent news developments mention the US has conducted airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria. And with each new day, more images of war-stricken foreign lands emerge, thus reinforcing the negative stereotypes of Arabs and the Middle East. Fortunately, artists like Sundus Abdul Hadi and the Narcicyst provide an alternative to such negative stereotypes with their art and message of peace.
The International and Area Studies Library at the University of Illinois is home to many resources related to the history and current events of Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries.
For more information about Abdul Hadi and the Narcicyst’s multimedia project Warchestra and other projects, go to the following link: http://sundusah.tumblr.com/warchestra
For links to subject headings, databases, news updates, articles, encyclopedias, dictionaries, blogs and more on Iraq and neighboring Middle Eastern and North African countries, go to the following links:
For additional electronic references, go to the following link: