Haider Jabbar Lateef
Iraqi artist born 2 May 1986, He graduated from Baghdad's Institute of Fine Arts 2009, graduated from the college of Fine Arts in Baghdad University in 2014 as well.
- Worked in the Cinematography «Art Director» short and long films, and worked in the Iraqi TV as well, 2008-2013.
- Worked with RUYA Foundation of the Iraqi Association for Contemporary Arts in 2015-2016.
- Joined of the SADA Foundation of the Iraqi Association for Contemporary Arts in 2013.
- Joined the Iraqi Center for independent film, to be one of members in 2010.
Member of the Iraqi Association of Fine art
Lives in Belgium.
My grandmother once told me that birds never kill each other, no matter what. They are simply unable to do it.
2014 in Iraq, there was a massacre that killed around 1700 men. It is called the Camp Speicher massacre. I only heard about it. I didn’t see images of it. What I saw were the faces of people in the street in Baghdad filled with terror and despair.
I became conscious of a catastrophe that was going to hit the entire country.
I grew up for Iraq, which has been at war for most of my life.
I was born in the middle of the Iran-Iraq war; a war that took nearly one million lives. Then there was the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Then I heard of the voices of hunger and poverty during the economic embargo on Iraq in the 1990s. Then there was the American war that got rid of the dictator Saddam, but destroyed so much of our cities and our memories in them. Then there was the sectarian war and then there was ISIS. There still is.
What happened at Camp Speicher wasn’t novel in Iraq’s bloody history, but it was still devastating for me. I was horrified by the gravity of the event.
I am very afraid. I am afraid of death, afraid of corpses, afraid of nightmares, of any bad dream. I’m even afraid of the faces of the dead men I paint. It is as if they follow me everywhere. I have also been killed, but I am in another world where I am documenting their faces the moment they are butchered, and I even hear their voices and last words with their murderers.
My memory is filled with images of death and destruction. It’s part of who I am.
Death is waiting for everyone, but we don’t know when we will meet each other.
When I start painting I feel a knife drawing to my neck. It makes me terrified.
I don’t find the scenes of fear and terror beautiful, but to shed light on them, to address them in one way or another is important I think. That is beautiful.