“Leave and Let Us Go” began during the Mosul Offensive with an 88km panoramic image of Mosul Road, the main road connecting West Mosul to Erbil. Sitting on top of a truck, I took one image every three seconds and manually stitched each image together to create a visual of life along a road that connected the proclaimed ISIS Caliphate to a city they could not capture. As I continued to cover the offensive, a stark divide emerged between what I was documenting and the reality on the ground.

One day a soldier sat next to me and shared photos on his phone: His wife. His children. His kills. This interaction repeated itself so often, I began asking to download these first-person accounts, resulting in an archive of over 350,000 images and videos from more than 50 individuals across Iraq.

“Leave and Let Us Go” consists of the panoramic image, photos and videos from participants, family photo albums, found objects and my own documentation. The work aims to return the narrative power to Iraq, confront the foreigners’ gaze, and challenge how geopolitical events and their impact are presented.

Alexandra Rose Howland (1990, US/UK) has spent much of the last decade living in the Middle East creating work that challenges traditional coverage of the region and its geopolitics. As her projects on climate, migration, conflict and post-conflict evolve, her work has expanded into Africa and Europe.
Howland’s background as an abstract painter continues to influence her practice, leading to a multidimensional approach using imagery, found objects, collage, sound, and video. Her projects span years and often result in vast archives that seek to examine people and places from multiple perspectives, all of which challenge the accepted narrative.
Howland’s work urges us to reimagine the stories we have already encountered.