After spending 20 years in the service of one of historys most notorious dictators, the artwork of Dr Ala Bashir provides a chilling insight into the horror of Iraqs recent history.
A new exhibition - to be shown for the first time in its entirety - will be showcased at Embrace Arts
at the RA centre, the University of Leicesters arts centre, from Saturday 15 May to Sunday 4 July 2010, with a special opening event on Friday 14 May.
Called Recent Work: Memories of Keys, the exhibition brings together Dr Bashirs paintings of keys and also a number of his single-line drawings. He spoke of what the key symbolises for him:
The meaning of home was my concern for many years, and became the prominent subject after I left Iraq. The search for a universal symbol or metaphor for home took me through lots of sideways - biological, social, ethnic, economic, historical and psychological aspects of human life. I found that the key might be used as a metaphor, rather than symbol, for home with all its controversies.
Dr Bashir escaped from Iraq in 2003, and today he lives with his wife just outside of Nottingham. He exhibits all over the world and is a champion for the healing power of art in overcoming the horrors of war.
Stella Couloutbanis, acting Visual Art Manager at Embrace Arts,commented: Ala Bashir is a remarkable artist who has worked under difficult circumstances and conditions; his paintings and drawings are now are a reminder of his past and show his emotional journey and struggle to come to terms with the life he escaped from. Embrace Arts is honoured and proud to be exhibiting his artwork.
"His work is beautifully composed and executed; his paintings are vibrant in subject matter, expressing his feelings for home and safety, and his line drawings are simplistic but are beautifully composed.
At the special event marking the exhibitions opening on Friday 14 May 2010, Professor Douglas Tallack, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) and Head of the College of Arts, Humanities and Law at the University of Leicester, will interview Dr Bashir about his art and experiences.