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Arizona Art Center Welcomes Artwork by Iraqi Artists

By Nidah Chatriwala

Fatima Al-Zeheri
Fatima Al-Zeheri (Photo by Iraqi American Society for Peace and Friendship)

On March 7, Phoenix Center for the Arts organized a colorful reception to welcome artwork by Iraqi refugees.

The reception began on Friday with a traditional Iraqi dance known as Chobi which was performed by Iraqi American Society for Peace and Friendship (IASPF).

The purpose of this art show was to build bridges between art lovers. Each piece of art displayed in the gallery represented a personal journey of struggle and triumph each Iraqi immigrant faced.
“For these artists, art is a way to reconcile past and present: to build a bridge between a life uprooted by war and the struggle to adapt and thrive in a new country,” said Fatima Al-Zeheri, an artist and she also leads the youth council of IASPF.

According to Al-Zeheri, the artists all grew up in Iraq, or their parents are from there. Through the lens of art, each artists portrays Iraq in a different way. Celebrating its history, landscape, heritage, culture and especially their hard working women – a shared theme among these artists.

“We would like to say that Iraq has been going through a lot for decades, but its people are still celebrating its history and culture,” Al-Zeheri enthused.

For example, the Invisible Women painting by Al-Zeheri illustrates Iraqi women’s household roles with colors hinting uncertainty and hope simultaneously.

Nada Adnan uses symbolism in her artwork to demonstrate the connection to both the past and the present.

Shatha Abed, on the other hand, chose to paint the loving bond of friendship.

However, the star of the night was Qasim Ayyed who has been honored in Iraq and Jordan for his signature artwork which is focused on representing  historical, traditional, and cultural aspects of old Iraq.

The success of the art show was evident as the room filled with curious onlookers who drove from around the state to satisfy their hunger for the arts.

“The theme was very well perceived as they witnessed a variety of artwork relates to one theme,” Al-Zeheri concluded.

To learn more about Iraqi American Society for Peace and Friendship, visit: www.iaspf.org


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