Collage in Iraq

The Work of Qasim Sabir

Some of my favorite things to read about on the web are the tales of artists from abroad that are in countries where art is not the top priority. Living so comfortably in the US, it is difficult to understand the barriers and obstacles that creatives face in other lands.
The turmoil in Iraq is no secret. It is a marvel that any artists can exist in such an environment! I get freaked out from the dust that falls in my studio from the upper unkempt floors...I can't imagine my concentration level with a lack of water, electricity, threats of death and bombs, and even more simply, the extra dust in the air! Therefore, it amazes me to see such sensitive work being done in places which are so uninviting. But some have no choice! The fact is, people live there.
Qasim Sabti is an artist living in Baghdad. He managed to take a pile of man's hate and turn it into a pile of man's devotion. Upon entering his local hangout the Academy of Fine Arts, he was forced to gaze upon precious books and resources in burned heaps on the floor. With creative fortitude, he collected various damaged book covers and used them as an instrument of communication.
" I brought a pile of the damaged covers back to my studio and immediately started to work. With passionate fingers, I started to transform them....Now, in their transformed state, these collages were bringing back life to books whose texts had been completely destroyed."
Fascinating stuff. You can read more on his site.

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