Film review: ‘Mirrors of Diaspora’ tells the story of artists exiled from a land lost to war

A still from ‘Mirrors of Diaspora.’ (Photo courtesy: IMDB.com)
Updated 09 October 2018
0

Film review: ‘Mirrors of Diaspora’ tells the story of artists exiled from a land lost to war

MALMO: Iraq’s tragic recent history has created a diaspora that’s among the largest globally, and the fate of seven Iraqi artists who left their homeland in the 1970s is the subject of veteran documentary maker Kasim Abid’s latest film, “Mirrors of Diaspora.”

Melancholy and reflective, the movie revisits the same painters and sculptors featured in Abid’s 1991 documentary “Amid the Alien Corn.” Having gone to Italy to master their craft, the artists became exiles after Saddam Hussein tightened his murderous grip on power and attacked Iran.

They still hoped to return permanently when Abid first encountered them, but a further quarter-century of devastation has ended the artists’ dreams of making Iraq their home again, and this sense of loss is a recurring theme in a film that’s overlong but always engaging.

Viewers meet Basra-born Afifa Aleiby, who eventually settled in the Netherlands, where her paintings found a rapt audience. Other artists featured include Florence-based Fuad Aziz, a sculptor and much-loved children’s author and illustrator; painter Jaber Alwan; and Baldin Ahmed, who still grieves for a brother murdered by Saddam’s forces in 1969.

Abid, too, is an Iraqi in exile, having lived in London since 1982, and so holds similar feelings. The somber score adds to the film’s resigned tone as the artists contemplate their mortality and dwell on their homeland’s ruin.

Interspersing new footage with archival scenes from “Alien Corn,” Abid shows how some of the artists went from painting caricatures for tourists to creating artwork of staggering beauty.

All seven remain professional artists, exhibiting in galleries worldwide, but these accomplishments cannot mute their longing for Iraq –- or at least the Iraq of their youth, with the country’s flawed democracy failing to convince them to return to a land wrecked by war and destruction.

The film examines memory and the notion of home, taking the viewer through the artists’ decades of exile. Their warmth shines through as Abid skilfully shows their stories, his careful camerawork and understated style creating a powerful testament to the creativity and compassion of a remarkable generation of Iraqi artists.


Where We Are Going Today: Stationery Fantasies

Updated 16 November 2018
0

Where We Are Going Today: Stationery Fantasies

  • Rawae’e Al-Maktabaat is the perfect place for kids and their parents to relax and enjoy a creative time

Rawae’e Al-Maktabaat (Stationery Fantasies) in Jeddah aims to awaken children’s creativity.
Located on Prince Sultan Road in Al-Zahra’a district, the facility is divided into six parts: The water park, indoor activity area, children’s costume shop, toy store, stationery shop and housewares stores.
There are four floors of indoor activity options for kids to choose from. The floors are divided into rooms filled with different activities such as cookery, carpentry, art and soap making. The toddler room has a ball pit and a sand pit.
The water park has a variety of slides and a wave pool. There are cafes and seats for adults to relax.
Rawae’e Al-Maktabaat is the perfect place for kids and their parents to relax and enjoy a creative time.