all images: Baghdad Zoo, Al-Zawraa park
Baghdad, Iraq, 2011
© ANTONIO OTTOMANELLI
ANTONIO OTTOMANELLI is a photographer and architect who have been working in the Middle East during the past few years documenting the state of architecture and urban landscape to provide a fresh portrait of those places and to bring us closer to what we are trying to change but do not know.
Destruction of identity tissues is the presupposition of every conflict, and of every new totalitarianism. But every war – while triggering a radical transformation of collective memory – must also be seen as a point of transition, a passage: that of living between collapse and reconstruction. – ANTONIO OTTOMANELLI
The series of photographs documenting the Al-Zawraa Baghdad’s extensive park and home to the city’s zoological gardens was taken in August 2011 and is part of a wider project entitled Beyond Third Landscape which had initially been envisaged as a survey of the landscape of Iraqi reconstruction.
The Baghdad Zoo is a 200-acre (81 ha) zoo originally opened in 1971 and located in Baghdad, Iraq, in the al-Zawraa’ Gardens area along with the Zawraa Amusement Park and Zawraa’ Tower. Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the zoo housed 650 animals. Saddam closed it for renovation in 2002 and, after being decimated during the 2003 Iraqi war, when only about 35 animals survived, it was intended to reopen in April 2003 after a $50 million facelift. The zoo reopened in July 2003, three months after the invasion. The zoo falls into what is known as the “green” zone, an area that contains most of Saddam Hussein’s city palaces and government departments, and which is under heavy US security. As of May 2003 there were about 50 animals, mostly big cats and other carnivores which had been collected at the Baghdad Zoo from four other collections, one public and three private, which had been identified from around the city.
I really suggest you to read his text about the project Beyond Third Landscape