Almost twenty years ago, Susan Sontag wrote an essay entitled “Regarding the Pain of Others,” in which she asked an important question: How can we mediate unimaginable suffering for those who haven’t experienced it themselves?
One can now search for the answer, which is more relevant than ever in this time of war, at Prague’s DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in a new group show entitled “The Pain of Others.” On view until April 16, 2023, the exhibition includes the series “Kissing Death” by VII’s Ali Arkady.
About “Kissing Death”:
During the war with ISIS in Iraq (2014–2017), Iraqi photographer and artist Ali Arkady received authorization from the elite Iraqi military unit ERD (Emergency Response Division) to follow their progress in fighting ISIS. Arkady was invited to work on
a photo story and a documentary. What for him began as a positive story about Shia and Sunni Iraqi soldiers fighting on the same side against a mutual enemy turned into a horrific journey that included torture, rape, killing, and robbing of innocent Iraqi civilians by the ERD.
“I live every day with the pain I have witnessed. It gets better with time, or maybe not. Maybe we just gradually adapt to the pain we have seen,” Ali Arkady describes his experience.