Saddam Jumaily

Artist, Helsinki/Basra

Saddam Jumaily (b.1974) is a painter and sculptor with a significant following in his home country of Iraq, where he is known for works that use symbolism to address memory and nostalgia.

From 1999-2000, Jumaily studied for a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts (Painting) at Basra University College of Fine Arts, Iraq, where he also completed an MA. He later became a respected lecturer at the university, where his perspectives and art were highly valued by his students.

In 2010, Jumaily began to receive death threats from religious fundamentalist groups both from within the university and outside of it. He was accused and persecuted for purportedly advocating atheism. He was forced to leave Iraq for Jordan but returned a year later. After several incidents and deaths in his circle, he was forced to flee the country for Amman, Jordan, where he continued his artistic work under highly precarious circumstances. Following their Artists at Risk (AR)-Residencies, Saddam and his wife Kholod Hawash relocated to Finland.

Jumaily has showcased his works in numerous international solo and group exhibitions, including the Sharjah Biennale in 2023. Find his full CV on his website.

As well as being an accomplished painter, Jumaily is both an editor and writer and has worked for several publications in Iraq, as well as for other Arab-language newspapers and magazines.

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