Imagine 2037: Tal Afar

Anmar Taha, an artistic director from Iraq, based in Sweden, takes us to Arthur's Seat and imagines a conversation between mother and child.

Mother: From the earth I emerge at Arthur’s Seat with crowds of veiled Yazidi mothers. Standing in a circle God and demons guard our presence.

We’re accused of being witches. Where is our ritual? Where are our dances? Where are our voices? Condemnation unravels before our covered eyes. We swirl and whip ourselves in a ritual of escape.

Foetus:  Why am I obliged to go out? 

Mother: Twenty years I carried you inside of me. Conceived on Mount Sinjar you must now enter the grey mist of this foreign country. 

Foetus: There is no one else here. 

Mother: They went seeking God by conquering the world and controlling matter. Their cries are for you – the last hope of our tribe.

Foetus: Their faces hide, yet their bodies speak and their voices move within forgotten time. 

Mother: We are fulfilling our destiny.

Foetus: Am I wanted?

Mother: Your path is to carry us away from here releasing us from the circle that curses us. 

The mothers run taking the leap…

The Seat remains in mist while mothers sway, demons stay and God slept.



Anmar’s story:

I am an artistic director from Iraq, based in Sweden.

Theatre entered my life when I studied at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad. I was selected to perform my graduation piece The Baldheaded at the Philadelphia Theatre Festival in Jordan and I won the Jury Prize.

Upon returning to Baghdad I was shot whilst putting up posters of my graduation performances. I survived, but many of my friends at the institute did not.

I moved to Sweden and founded the company Iraqi Bodies in 2009. I have worked with theatre and dance nationally and internationally ever since.

Since theatre entered my life, 17 years ago, it has led me to share and create a poetic reality that finds the light even in the deepest darkness of life.


#Imagine2037 celebrates the 20th anniversary of the British Council's Edinburgh Showcase by inviting artists who are migrants, from all over the world, to imagine the future with us.

We've asked eight artists to write about a performance that takes place in 20 years' time on Arthur's Seat, a hilltop overlooking Edinburgh. Watch out for all the imaginary performances in the series – we're releasing one a day from 19–26 August.

Imagine 2037 is curated by Andy Field, Alma Salem, Cathy Gomez and Matt Beavers.

Follow the Imagine 2037 series:

Droneful: Farah Salah invites us to a participatory performance with drones
Red Chaddors:  Anida Yoeu Ali takes us to a hilltop in Edinburgh in 20 years' time
New Water Town: JR Carpenter imagines an underwater city
Six Actions for Transitioning: Maru Rojas suggests six actions for transitioning to a degrowth world
The Telescope: Brooke Robinson imagines a future of flying cars and extra-terrestrial visitors
> CloserGaël Cornec's piece is about love, loss and the passage of time


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