When Henry Hemming set out in a pick-up truck called Yasmine to make a portrait of the Middle East, he had no idea what he would find or where he would be able to go - he wasn't even sure how he would earn enough money to stay on the road for a year.Hemming's extraordinary journey takes him from the drug-fuelled ski-slopes of Iran via some of the region's secret beaches, palaces, army barracks, police cells, nightclubs, torture chambers, brothels and artists' studios to a Fourth of July party with American GIs in one of Saddam's former palaces. Everywhere he goes his status as artist gets him into places he would not have been allowed otherwise. As the invasion of Iraq intensifies, he realises that to finish his portrait of the region he must go to Baghdad and find the artistic renaissance there that he has heard about. In so doing he will risk his life.Throughout, he meets young people who share their dreams, doubts and passions, revealing a young and unpredictable Middle East that flies beneath the radar of nightly news bulletins. In these meetings he also begins to understand what he himself represents, be it British spy, Muslim extremist, jihadi, tramp, bohemian, street-cleaner, Baghdadi, or, from time to time, artist. Misadventure in the Middle East offers a unique, evocative and highly original account of Henry's journey.
Henry Hemming is a young British artist who spent a year travelling through the Middle East creating art. His art book, Off Screen, showing images and artwork of his journey, was extremely well-received. He is well-connected and has written articles for Islamica, Resurgence, Nomad and The Middle East and now works in a cramped Hackney studio.Visit. www.henryhemming.com to see his work.