At the 7,000 ft. peak of the Gara Mountain in Iraqi Kurdistan, the remains of Saddam Hussein’s palace, built in 1989, still stand. 29 years later, in March, 2018, two caged bears were escorted by a group of local media representatives and female Kurdish peshmerga fighters to be ceremoniously freed at the helipad adjacent to the palace.
Having lived dependently and in captivity throughout their lives, the bears struggled to survive in the wild. One vanished, whilst the other was at the mercy of the personnel that guard the telecommunication towers at the palace.
The surreal juxtaposition of the stressed bear and the dilapidated palace, set amongst the magnificent mountains, encapsulates the tragedy of the people of this land throughout history, from the time of Gilgamesh, to the present.