Ahmed Al-Nawas


Hospitality raises the eternal question of how to receive strangers, foreigners, others.

The term hospitality derives from two Latin words that contradict each other in meaning: hospes and hostis. Hospes points towards hospitality and hostis in the direction of hostility. There are two components in hospitality: the host and the guest. The power relations and roles between them determine the conditions for hospitality.

Hospitality always takes place in a given space. Words that refer to places where hospitality and care take place have been derived from the words hospes and hostis, such as hospital, hospice, hostel and hotel.

In his exhibition in MAA-Tila, Al-Nawas discusses the concept of hospitality and its contradictions through the tragic story of the Al-Rashid Hotel in Baghdad. Completed in 1982, the five-star hotel was intended to host the presidents and kings of the member states of the Non-Aligned Movement, but instead the building remained hostage to international conflict during the construction phase.

The exhibition consisting of personal artifacts, historical documents and interviews weaves together the history of the Al-Nawas family, international conflict, the Al-Rashid hotel and exile.

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