2009, watercolor, 1.5’ x 2’
Reprinted by permission of Thaer Abdallah.
All rights reserved.
Painting in the Margins: Displacement and the Refugee Experience
by Thaer Abdallah
February 16 - April 12, 2010
Mon - Thurs, 10 A.M. - 4 P.M.
Sun 10 A.M. - noon
Saturday, February 27, 2010
7 - 9 P.M.
Thaer, 39, is a Palestinian artist and human rights activist who was born in Iraq and grew up in Baghdad. Palestinians are an ethnic minority in Iraq who have lived there for sixty years, but have neither citizenship nor freedom. Since 2003, they have been attacked by various militias and have suffered kidnapping, torture, imprisonment and assassination.
Thaer is a human rights worker and torture survivor. He led a number of refugee families out of Iraq in 2005 and lived with them in a refugee camp in Syria. He created many paintings in the refugee camp, painting on black velvet because canvas was not available. In 2007, Syrian secret police imprisoned him and deported him back to Iraq. He fled again, and finally arrived in the U.S. to begin a new life in April 2008.
Thaer has painted and drawn since he was a child. He recalls, “I discovered that art was a world so much larger than the one room which I shared with my parents and twelve siblings. I drew on everything – the windows, the walls, the door – to my mother’s dismay!”
Thaer’s painting express the pain and also the beauty and strength of the Palestinian community in Baghdad and of those scattered as refugees in many corners of the world. His paintings of U.S. subjects reflect awareness of those on the margins of the society in which he has settled. He also paints scenes of nature and people interacting with nature.
Since arriving in the U.S. he has studied painting at the Eliot School of Fine and Applied Arts. His work has been shown locally at the Out of the Blue Gallery, the Paulist Center, the Middle East Restaurant, 1369 Coffeeshop, and Andala Restaurant. His credo – “Life does not stop, and it is still beautiful.”