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The Iraqi artist Mohammed Sami, who grew up under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, will have a solo exhibition this summer at Blenheim Palace, the 18th-century stately home located in Oxfordshire (9 July-20 October).

“For the exhibition, Sami will develop an entirely new body of work, building on recurring themes and imagery within his practice, as well as drawing inspiration from the history and collection of Blenheim Palace,” a project statement says.

According to The Guardian, Sami lived through “the Iran-Iraq conflict, two Gulf wars, the US-led invasion and sectarian violence”; he emigrated to Sweden in 2007 as a refugee and later studied at Goldsmiths college, University of London. “The things I articulate in my artwork are memories hidden in the brain cells that are waiting for a trigger,” he said. In 2023, he had a solo exhibition at Camden Art Centre, London.

The Sami show is the ninth contemporary art exhibition to be held at the palace. Previous exhibitions have been dedicated to Yves Klein, Maurizio Cattelan, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Jenny Holzer, Ai Weiwei, Cecily Brown, Lawrence Weiner and Tino Sehgal. All of the exhibitions are organised by the Blenheim Art Foundation.

During the Cattelan exhibition in 2019, thieves removed the artist’s 18-carat gold toilet (America, 2016). Last November four men were charged over the theft: James Sheen, 39, and Michael Jones, 38, are charged with burglary, while Fred Doe, 35, and Bora Guccuk, 39, are accused of conspiring to transfer criminal property. They appeared before the Oxford Magistrates’ court on 28 November, were granted unconditional bail and were due to appear at Oxford Crown Court on 4 January (the outcome of the case remains unclear).

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