Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Like Snails to their Shells

It is one thing to voluntarily move into other countries in the quest to be a world citizen. It is quite another to be forced from your home because of war and disaster.

The Iraqi artist, Said Farhan, is now based in Switzerland, after he and his family left the turbulence of his home country. In the Word into Art exhibition in the British Museum Said has contributed his creation, ‘Uncle Najib’s Suitcase’. This ‘suitcase’ is covered with signs, symbols and postage stamps. Farhan’s departure from Iraq with a suitcase of treasured possessions symbolizes the experience of exile for himself and others. It is an artistic work of the mundane objects that provide comfort when there is nothing else.

Farhan says, “Homes don’t travel. People hang onto their homes like snails to their shells. When people have to leave their homes there remains a scar at the very place where people and walls meet so closely.”

Geoff Pound

Image: Uncle Najib’s Suitcase