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RUYA MAPS has a clear mission: to support artists in areas of social or political instability

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RUYA MAPS has a clear mission: to support artists in areas of social or political instability. It is a not-for-profit platform that delivers a global and accessible programme, fostering and promoting culture originating from places affected by political or military conflicts.

Its roaming exhibition programme introduces culture concerning areas of discord to new global audiences, in many cases for the first time. Onsite activities take place in areas currently or recently affected by political or military conflicts, and in refugee camps. They include artist commissions, workshops, talks and collaborations with local groups, organisations and initiatives. RUYA MAPS also produces publications and digital content.


Through the testimony of real-time, creative witnesses, RUYA MAPS intends to establish a cultural legacy for communities affected by social or political instability, for generations to come. To achieve this RUYA MAPS has three aims:


To build a platform that gives a voice to artists working in areas of discord, enabling them to participate in international events and exhibitions.


To develop practical, manageable and accessible cultural projects in areas of social or political instability, engaging artists working in those areas in international cultural conversations.


To deliver an international programme that enables diverse art audiences to gain knowledge and insight into conflict and other global challenges.


“RUYA MAPS aims to give access to artists who are excluded from the international art world because of where they come from, or where they live”

Tamara chalabi  |  director


Our Origins

RUYA MAPS was established to address specific needs, identified by the Ruya Foundation whilst carrying out its unique work in Iraq, that were found to be applicable internationally.

Its sister organisation, the Ruya Foundation, began its journey in 2012. It works in Iraq to aid and enrich culture and build cultural bridges with the world. Particularly supporting young artists, it is the only NGO working with contemporary artists in Iraq.

Working with artists in this context has given Ruya a unique and particular insight into cultural projects happening in areas of social or political instability. In order to address these challenges on a global scale, achieving a broader and more geographically diverse remit, Ruya established RUYA MAPS. Based in London, this new entity runs its own distinct programme and targets specific places in the world where exhibitions and their associated activities would have the highest impact.


RUYA is a UK registered charity no. 1178362.