Iraqi Kurdish artists have made paintings and art installations from artifacts including Assyrian reliefs from 700 BCE, peppered by Daesh bullet holes, and the farewell “death” notes of a charity worker smuggling aid to Daesh-controlled Mosul, theguardian.com reported.
The exhibition is part of a series of events marking the 10th anniversary of Gulan, a UK-registered charity promoting Kurdish culture.
Hemn Hamid is one of the Iraqi Kurdish artists whose work will be on display at the P21 Gallery in King’s Cross for the Road through the Kurdistan exhibition. He risked his life for almost four years by not only smuggling food and medicines into Mosul but also chronicling life under Daesh’s oppressive rule through his art.
Before setting out every morning, the aid worker and artist would pen a farewell note to his wife and children in case he was killed by Daesh terrorists.
Richard Wilding, who curated the exhibition along with the Kurdish artist Mariwan Jalal, described Hamid’s installation as “a remarkable artistic portrayal of saying goodbye to your loved ones every single day.”
Wilding continued: “In the notes he says that, ‘If I don’t come back, if you never see me again, I want you to know that I love you and how much I think of you.’ This is extremely powerful stuff and all of it will be accompanied by full translations.
“He displayed the same humanity with the boys he met who were carving toy guns out of wood because that is what they were seeing every day on their streets when the Daesh terrorists appeared.”
Photographs of ancient books rescued by Father Najeeb Michaeel, will also be shown.
An hour and a half before Daesh terrorists arrived to attack a Christian town outside Mosul, Michaeel packed his car with the books and transported them to the safety of the Iraqi Kurdish region.
When Daesh later arrived at the Christian redoubt they burned down the church, and charcoal from its charred remains was later used by the London artist Piers Secunda to draw pictures of Assyrian reliefs that were vandalized when Daesh controlled the area from 2014.
Among the 18 artists represented at the exhibition, which begins today, is Rebwar Saed, a former Kurdish Peshmerga fighter turned international artist.
Saed’s writings and drawings meticulously record the aftermath of the horrors of chemical warfare during Saddam Hussein’s Anfal genocide in which tens of thousands of Kurds were killed.
In one diary entry, Saed details chemical weapons being dropped from the sky. “We could hear screaming. The bunker, which was half-ruined, started shaking. Everyone wanted to take shelter inside. I started smelling chemical gas and everyone started to run outside. I put on my mask that I carried with me and started to run towards the higher hills. I didn’t stop until I got to the top.”