All Images © Franco Pagetti / VII
A pivotal juncture in the Iraq war was the bombing of the Al-Askari Mosque in Samarra in 2007. The simmering civil war exploded, and the country broke into sectarian halves, with Shia mobs attacking Sunnis and Sunnis retaliating against Shiites. Because a Sunni or Shia name could identify an individual’s faith, presenting an ID card at a checkpoint could be a death sentence. Franco Pagetti’s portraits of Sunni and Shiites with their ID cards are included in an exhibition of images he took in Iraq between 2003 and 2008 currently on view at the VII Gallery in Brooklyn, NY through April 12. The show, co-curated by Alice Gabriner and Jamie Wellford, opened on the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.
Above: Hussein Abdul Baqui Ismail, a Sunni, stands for a portrait in the Adhamiyah neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq on Jan. 22, 2007. Ismail was an engineering student at Baghdad Polytechnic. However, the numerous checkpoints throughout Baghdad, patrolled by the Iraqi National Police, made it too risky for him to attend his classes.
Zainab Jalal Ahmed al Snawi, Sunni, stands for a photograph in the Adhamiyah neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq on Jan. 22, 2007. Al Snawi revealed only that she is a former school teacher and rarely leaves her neighborhood where she feels protected.
Mahmoud Kalil Ibrahim, Sunni, stands for a portrait in the Adhamiyah neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq on Jan. 22, 2007. Ibrahim was a truck driver, forced into unemployment when it became too dangerous for him to commute around the country, particularly since his name is typically Sunni.
Ameraa Radhi Lami al –Kaibee, Shia, stands for a portrait in Baghdad, Iraq on February 6, 2007. Her house was destroyed by a car bomb attack in December 2006.
Afra’ah Nasir Salem al Azawii, Sunni, stands for a portrait in the Adhamiyah neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq on Jan. 22, 2007. In 2007, she said she felt safe living in the Sunni stronghold of Adhamiyah even though she had to wear a veil when she left her home. Al Qaeda and other Islamic militias controlled the area, and rigid Islamic rules were in place.
Lamel Ferfash Jasem al-Buaigee stands for a portrait February 11, 2007 in Saha, Baghdad, Iraq. He left his neighborhood, where Shia and Sunni lived together. A supporter of Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Iraqi Shiite cleric, Lamel was working as a shepherd when photographed in 2007.