Poetry & Peace for Baghdad

Thank you to Noushin Arefadib for support and feedback in writing this blog piece. Much respect, Sister!

Winter in Newcastle :: At the moment I’m trying to work on many things. I’ve been house bound for a month with a back & arm injury incurred during Aikido training. I’ve caught up on sleep & had time to contemplate, to appreciate the fact that I’m getting back to making my artwork again. I had the realisation that I would not let anything stop me from making my art. It has been a valuable lesson.

Art :: It’s a joy to be dedicated wholeheartedly to my art. I finally feel I have the skills & voice, so the work is just flowing. I LOVE the Newcastle Art School. My teachers are amazing, talented, dedicated artists. I feel blessed to be studying there.

Thoughts on war and peace :: I have been working on a drawing in ink & charcoal. It’s a large scale piece about Baghdad. What an amazing city. I would love to go there one day, if I was ever invited.

My art piece seeks to critique the propaganda campaign against Islamic culture & the invasion of the Middle East by coalition forces. Postmodern capitalism, with it’s throw away culture of consume crap & slave mentality, is the coloniser’s refined mechanism of conquest in the present day & age.

My art piece depicts the turmoil left by the war on the Middle East & Islamic culture. I have chosen to depict Baghdad, after analysis of the construction work taking place there at the moment. The new buildings in the artwork are true to the latest google maps; the re-built Baghdad features the ‘Ministry of Children’ & the ‘Ministry of Oil’ in the same new block of buildings; an Orwellian landscape; a constant reminder of colonisation. This new urban landscape is in stark contrast to the rubble left after countless bombs dropped on the city.

I hope that this artwork inspires optimism for the ability of people to rebuild their lives, to remember their roots & culture & to decolonize.

Bagdad in the 1530s

From the Ottoman campaign chronicle Beyān-e manāzel-e sefer-e ʿErāqeyn, completed in 994/1537 (Istanbul University Library, after Brend, Pl. 6).

Baghdad :: I was sitting a few years ago in the late afternoon sun in my back yard, with tea, snacks & a good friend who was born in Iraq. My friend is a poet, performance artist & man of many talents. He fled his home to come to Australia as a refugee when the War started. He was in shock that afternoon, as he had just returned from visiting family back in Iraq. He told me about the depleted uranium the coalition forces dropped on his people.

Baghdad has been torn apart, the coalition forces have been hell bent on destroying the lives of the Iraqi people. Bagdad is a centre of the arts, literature, learning & culture. The coalition forces have dropped depleted uranium on the Iraqi children. Is there any question that those responsible for these war crimes, these atrocities are absolutely not civilised.. Bagdad is a centre of art, love, education – bombed.

I have been reading Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet (English translation) whilst convalescing. This writing is truly life’s wisdom to me. As I read Gibran’s words I imagine a fragrant, beautiful landscape that has inspired the writing. I would love to visit this place of my dreams & I know this place still exists.

Peace for the Children of Baghdad :: My art piece is for the children of the Middle East, represented by my image of Baghdad… & a peacefull future for us all. That the children will grow up strong & safe, remembering Bagdad’s history. To rebuild their lives & city strong & healthy. The children of Bagdad do not need the coalition forces, who have poisoned the people, raped, stollen, murdered, tortured their brothers & sisters. That is an absolute insult. People everywhere are capable of administrating their own affairs. The children of Baghdad are fully capable of re-building their city, inspiration to so many artists, poets, writers, thinkers.

DREAM: THE CITY: Bagdad, 2008

Veronica Golos

Who am I that I sit here at this door?

In my dream, there is a long alley, a place I learn Want.

The city is a mirror. Inside my reflection, old men are on fire—
Flaming like red kaffiyahs.

Litter ignites into funeral flares; the bread of the dead is baking.
Above the moans of children, soldiers warm their hands.

Avenues widen into downpour, detours unfold, flower into cemeteries.
Into this narrow place, two rivers clash.

Am I the one covered with brine, smelling of tides?
Or am I the stone, lifted like a flag?

 

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