Koutaiba Al-Janabi, film maker and photographer, was born in Baghdad. He studied Photography and Cinematography in Budapest, and wrote a thesis on the Aestetics of Arabic Cinema so he could extend his leave to stay there, to escape the regime in his homeland.
He now lives in London.

The theme threading through his art is Exile, Alienation that characterizes both his film and photographic work.

Koutaiba’s short films The Train, Still Life, Transient, No Man’s Land, Wasteland and Ever Restless Man have won several awards at festivals around the world, from Sicily to Iraqi Kurdistan, from Holland to the London FilmFestival, from Barcelona to Umea. Koutaiba has also worked on several feature films as cinematographer and is currently working on his own debut feature film, set in Hungary, on the subject of migration.

“Far from Baghdad”, Koutaiba’s collection of photographs has just been published as a book. It contains a selection of images from his various projects and and periods: a series of portraits of Iraqis living in exile, that he has been collecting for the past 20 years; images from Hungary, where he spent nearly 20 years, photographs from the Palestinian refugee camps in the Lebanon, his first comprehensive project from the early 80ies and images of Baghdad in 2003, when he returned after 25 years of exile. The journey has not come to an end in Baghdad, he still lives in exile.

His photographs have been shown at the Szabo Ervin Library in Budapest, at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, the Photography Museum in Kecskemet, Camden Lock, Islinton Museum, Kodak Gallery in London, in Arbil, Iraqi Kurdistan.


KOUTAIBA AL-JANABI, Budapest, 1990
Courtesy of the Artist