September 9, 2007

Iraqi artists barely make ends meet

In Associated Press writer Hamza Hendawi's profile of artist Noori al-Rawi, the extended suffering of the Iraqi arts community due to the ongoing US presence becomes evident: "A Sunni Muslim, Noori al-Rawi is bitter and angry over the violence consuming Iraq and blames the United States and its Iraqi allies. What has happened to Iraq, he said, has left him unable to paint. 'The truth is, I can no longer command my hand to paint,' he explains. 'I feel that Iraqis have been grossly insulted. There are limits to what the human soul can endure. What I want to do now is to appease my soul and protect a history that would otherwise be lost.' About 50 percent of Iraq's artists are believed to have fled the country and are now living abroad in exile. Most who remain in Iraq are barely making ends meet, according to al-Sabti, deputy chairman of the Union of Iraqi Painters, who complained that successive post-Saddam governments have done little to protect Iraqi artists or provide them with any kind of financial aid." Read more.