Iraq | Kurdistan: The Great Gathering

In 2019, we travelled to Iraqi Kurdistan for 10 days with George Butler - an award-winning reportage artist - who taught us how to put pen to paper and record the scenes in situ.




Kurdistan is a semiautonomous region in the north of Iraq. It is a place of great beauty, mountains, rich history and fascinating politics.

Located on a tangle of ethnic, religious, and geopolitical fault lines, the Kurdish homeland has been affected by conflict for centuries. However, it is now a stable place to visit and is a welcoming destination for adventurous tourists.

We discovered the legacy of the Assyrian empire, ancient fortresses, bustling bazaars, spectacular mountain scenery, 5000-year-old cities, and the notorious hospitality of the Kurdish people.


George Butler is an award winning artist and illustrator specialising in travel and current affairs. Working in situ with pen, ink and watercolour, his drawings have been published in numerous publications including The New York Times, CNN and the Guardian and his work has been exhibited in the Imperial War Museum and V&A Museum.

In April 2017, George joined the Iraqi special forces “golden division” as they fought ISIL in west Mosul. At the time Mosul was a key stronghold for ISIL, where they held an estimated 200,000 civilians hostage. His work captured striking moments from the frontlines to the daily life of those rebuilding their lives in the recently liberated parts of the city.


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