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                Sep 01, 2007 


Iraqi Artists, the Concealed Gift of Our Society

The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.”
Emile Zola

Up until my first book was released three years ago, I was not aware of the diverse Iraqi artists who were part of our community. I had mainly dealt with American authors, editors, publishers and filmmakers. Little by little, however, I was introduced to a wonderful group of creative and intellectual men and women of Iraqi descent. Their work inspired me and others to start IAA (Iraqi Artists Association). Our vision was to have the honor of affiliating with these magnificent artists, and of finding ways for the rest of the world to enjoy viewing or reading their suburb work.

IAA held its first general meeting on Wednesday, August 22nd, and it was a great beginning to an aspiring organization. As we gathered at the Mesopotamia Art gallery in Ferndale, Michigan, drinking coffee, soft drinks and discussing intellectual topics, with Sculptures all around us, and paintings belonging to exceptional artists hanging on the walls, I was reminded of a famous American writer named Gertrude Stein. She moved to France in the early 1900’s and her salon (gathering place) at 27 Rue de Fleurus, with walls covered by avente-garde paintings, attracted many of the great artists and writers, including Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Henri Matisse, Thornton Wilder, Sherwood Anderson, and Guillaume Appollinair – some of whom were expatriate American writers who moved to Paris and other parts of Europe from the time period which saw the end of World War I to the beginning of the Great Depression.

The gallery is run by Amer Fatuhi, a visual artist, historian, writer and activist, as well as co-founder of IAA. Amer’s presence, along with other brilliant artists such as Sam Selou, Basel Odish, Joseph Hanna and Farouk Kaspaules, who teaches at Ottawa University in Ontario, Canada, filled Wednesday’s gathering with enlightening conversations that included challenging questions and debates. As for writer and journalist Zaid Misho, publisher Najat Baccal and photographer Zuhair Shaaouni, I discovered that not only are they exceptional artists, but also excellent moderators with noteworthy ideas. Also present was Dr. Shaker Georges, PhD is in Metaphysics, who is truly a man many need to pay attention to. When he speaks, people should listen because his concepts are remarkable. Lastly, I’d like to mention an admirable artist, Lavon Ammori. Although she was unable to attend the meeting, Lavon has had, and will continue to have, tremendous contributions in the arts and in co-founding IAA.

These artists and intellectuals, along with many others whom we have not yet had the fortune of meeting, are a gift to our Iraqi community. Therefore, it is IAA’s hope that they will join us in helping the world recognize who we are and what we do.

Weam Namou-Yatooma

Co-Founder and President of IAA,

Iraqi Artists Association

http://www.iraqiartists.org (Soon)

PS. To learn more about IAA kindly visit the link below: