ŠamaŠ in Suomenlinna

‘The blood of the country accumulate like bronze and lead / Its dead melt like fat in the sun / Its men are cut down by the ax, no helmet protects them / Like a gazelle caught in a trap, they lie down, their mouth in the dust… / Mothers and fathers who do not leave their house are covered by fire / Children lying in their mother’s lap, are swept away by the waters like fish…May this disaster be wiped out entirely! Like the great shutter of night, the gate be closed on it!’ Lamentation for the ruin of Ur (2000 BC).

After 57th Venice Biennial and the Sursock Museum exhibition in Beirut, Zad Moultaka’s ŠamaŠ will be on display in Suomenlinna 14 August – 7 October 2018. The work is inspired by the paradox of recent history between the East and West as a zone of conflict and set against its ancient history as the source of so much of what we regard as civilisation.

The ŠamaŠ project has its origin in the Code of Hammurabi, considered the first code of law, engraved on a tall, black basalt stele nearly 2,000 years before our era. It comprises a wall made up of black panels to which a mosaic is a attached, formed from 150,000 Lebanese coins, recalling an aerial view of a bombed city; a 6 meter high Rolls Royce Mk 209 military jet engine from the 1950s, mounted vertically on end in the space; 44 loudspeakers, over which a composition by Moultaka is played. The composition, ŠamaŠ Itima, is a choral work for 32 voices mixed with electroacoustic elements.

ŠamaŠ is exhibited at Suomenlinna Levyhalli hall, which was the site of Finland’s first military airplane factory in 1920’s. In 1918 one of the prison camps of the Finnish Civil War was located next to the Levyhalli building.

Levyhalli, Suomenlinna
Building number 21 on the Suomenlinna visitor map

HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme
Governing Body of Suomenlinna
The Honorary Consul General of Finland in Lebanon and Mrs. Zafer Chaoui

Saastamoinen Foundation
City of Helsinki
Chorus of the Antonine University direction: Toufic Maatouk

Mr. and Mrs. Berndt Brunow
Fondation Fouad & Toufic Fadel
Mr. Risto E. J. Penttilä

Nadine Saddi Zaccour