arkady_280Northern Iraq is in the midst of a housing boom, demanding vast amounts of cheap, unskilled labor. The demand is met by poor Kurds from remote villages as well as Arabs and Yezidis who’ve fled the violence in the south and west of the country. They live in cheap hotels and sleep on floors or roofs if there aren’t enough beds. In summer, some workers sleep in the nearby parks. The work is back-breaking and the pay is minimal, but while the housing bubble inflates, there is plenty of work for those poor enough to do it.

This project aims to show a side of Iraq that rarely – if ever – is reported to the rest of the world: the story of the surprising reversal that Iraq has experienced since 2003. Iraqi Kurdistan used to be the poor region of the country, dominated by the wealthier centre – but now that has changed, making it the most affluent in Iraq. Its economic boom is so great that Arabs are now migrating to the Kurdish region as opposed to the reverse. This is, in turn, changing the demographics and identity not only of the Kurdish region but of the entire country.

Ali Arkady