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Safina Projects CIC is a creative studio that works to protect and revive the endangered craft heritage of Iraq, particularly its ancient boats, through art and cultural research projects that engage the public in Iraq and internationally.


Safina means Ship or Ark in Arabic. As a river-based society, Iraq’s watercraft and maritime heritage is central to its culture. Known as the location of the ancient Flood, Iraq now faces a different crisis, through conflict, climate change and water resource shortages. Safina Projects sets out to address this situation through gathering: bringing together the Iraqi diaspora community, re-connecting with communities in Iraq, and gathering what remains of our cultural heritage to make it available for future generations.

We see crafts made from organic materials as the essential link that connects culture to environment, creating a distinctive regional aesthetic and a unique set of skills. Protecting and reviving these craft traditions is crucial to the survival of Iraqi culture.

Safina Projects is co-founded by artist Rashad Salim and project manager Hannah Lewis: find out more about the team here.

“Thanks and homage to all in Iraq who have survived the unimaginable, and who help us to re-imagine the possible.” 

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Rashad Salim 
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