Saddam Jumaily

Painter, sculptor

ResidencyAR-Safe Haven Helsinki, Finland

Hosting periodSeptember-November 2020

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 deal with 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 thinking and art were much 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. With the help of AR, Saddam and his wife Kholod relocated to Finland, where they are currently based. Together they are the inaugural artists-in-residence at the new AR-Porvoo Art Factory Residency at Taidetehtaan taiteilijaresidenssi.

As well as being a respected 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.

Saddam Jumaily’s AR-ENSH residency was part of AR-Safe Haven Helsinki, hosted by Perpetuum Mobile ry. It was co-founded by the Department of Culture and Leisure of the City of Helsinki. He has also been hosted by AR–Saari Residence/Saastamoinen Foundation.

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