a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
Since I left Iraq in 2006, my work has mainly been concerned with Iraqi narratives of the American invasion of their country and its impact on their lives. My work is in many ways a form of resistance to the stereotypical images of Iraqi experiences of trauma and displacement.
For me personally, the sense of exile established a need for images of home. I began painting works that spoke to that need, thus re-imagining connections to places and people from my life in Iraq. My paintings were filled with images of Iraqi women, symbols and places that I wanted to surround myself with in my own home. They became my form of resistance to being uprooted, displaced and re-identified by immigration.
the back of the tongue
and the top of the throat
like a gentle gurgle
of water flowing from
in silt heavy swirls
that find themselves
lost on the edges of banks.
From the tips of our tongues
we pile the memories
and stack them like the bricks
of homes we left behind,
now filled with solitude.
With our cardamom scented teacups
neatly tucked in dust laden
we sit here,
always looking back
to a city
rooted in centuries,
occupied and liberated,
just patient enough to hold us all
with all the colours of our skins,
with all our unbelievable beliefs,
with all our madness and exhilaration
holding us together
in gardens enclosed with gardenia bushes,
around tables of gossip and laughter,
through streets that never sleep,
on a river of candles bound with wishes.