February 18th – March 18th

Deer Lake Gallery

 Tues – Sun: 12:00pm – 4:00pm Free drop-in admission

‘It’s the story of all people who are facing unwanted war and have been victims of war, losing or leaving what they have and finding a safe place to continue living with all the stress and struggles they will face in this journey Seeking Safety’. – Harem Jamal

Biography Harem Jamal is a Kurdish artist born in Kurdistan, Iraq. In 1988
when he was two years old, the Iraqi Regime attacked his town
“Halabja” with chemical weapons, killing 5000 people. Jamal’s
family fled to a refugee camp in Iran where they spent a year
before returning home. A few years later, his town was attacked
again and they fled to another camp in Iran where they spent the
next eight years.
The camp felt like a prison; his whole family worked on a farm and
in a brick factory, including Harem, age 9. They would return to the
camp each evening. Every night his mother would tell him a story,
and he would make it into a drawing. She told Jamal of life in
Kurdistan and how they fled to Iran, sad stories which she
somehow finished with hope and happiness.
Since Jamal had no toys drawing was his entertainment and
salvation. He lived inside his imagination.
‘At first, I had only pencils but an observant teacher in the camp’s
school noticed my talent and interest in art and gave me a set of
colored pencils. This was the best day I can remember. I felt like a
hero with a new super power – color. I drew more and more’.
After eight years Jamal moved back to Iraq. He studied painting at
Fine Art College. Then got his Masters in Teaching and taught art at
the Institute for Educational Development. Jamal has had solo
shows and group exhibitions and arrived in Canada in 2017. Jamal
has felt compelled to express what it feels like to grow up in war.
‘Drawing what I lived through continues to be my salvation. In Iraq,
I was extensively involved with organizations providing refugee
humanitarian support and educational development to children. I
volunteered in a number of refugee camps in Iraq helping kids heal
through making art as I had. I felt like each one of those children
was me’.
The plight of children who are displaced from countries ravaged by
war is Jamal’s subject matter. These are paintings drawn from his
childhood memories. They are in a sense portraits of his students.