The what of my Art: it derives from the concrete being of the world, and emerges in the processing of experiences, in paint, surface, photograph, texture, tar, shellac, plant materials, minerals, and the spectrum. I make art from these elements. I conceive, draw, and speculate in various color combinations to shape ideas in an attempt to share them. Valid approaches to solving artistic problems invariably require good judgment. The delicate balance between an art object’s phenomenological origin and its meaning potential is often difficult to sustain.
The living tragedy of Iraq—my home country—generates many of my artistic ideas. Car bombings killed and maimed large numbers of simple, ordinary people in the markets, near schools, where workers gathered, on busses, and by police stations. My story is a tale of uncaged, irrational violence that stalks the cities, villages, and highways. My purpose as an artist is to bear witness to these horrors. My art is devoted to depicting violence and its consequences.
In Baghdad in 2005, I was only minutes away from a terror explosion. The ground shook, and the car I was riding in was pushed by the concussive pressure. I experienced an ear piercing blast up close, emotional horror, physical sickness, the dreadful mess, and complete confusion; I survived by luck alone.
This memory and others like it became a part of me. I chose to use mix media with tar, on canvas or wood panels, other traditional and nontraditional materials, digital photography, and repurposed traditional surfaces, to express the complexity of an explosion. My images, in both painting and sculpture, are an open invitation to rational women and men to explain to themselves why this happened.
My body of work explores the relationship between violence, politics, gender, and emotional memory. My influences are diverse. I admire the work of Anselm Kiefer, who uses large-scale mixed media, painting, and sculpture to explore the horrors of the Holocaust. The drawings of Käthe Kollwitz, that embrace the victims of poverty, hunger, and war, resonate with my own experiences. I identify with Shirin Neshat’s work. We share similar experiences-she being from Iran, I from Iraq. William Kentridge’s charcoal animated films, Gerhard Richter’s abstracts, and the action paintings of Jackson Pollock, offer a variety of ways and means to materialize the inner life, an artistic premise that I also serve.
As a practicing artist, my purpose is to create accessible messages that express the irrational violence of war and terrorism, and how they destroy the beauty of life.