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From Sweden to Babylon : Unveiling Sara’s Artistic Journey


"You can never have enough hot pink!" Sara exclaimed with a playful smile as she pedaled her bicycle through the rain, carrying tubes of vibrant hot pink acrylic paint. This whimsical energy is characteristic of Sara, an artist born and raised in Sweden to Iraqi parents, and to her abstract paintings that depict her instantly recognizable style.


Much like the continuous streak of dots in Sara's artwork, her life has unfolded through various stages that align to form a decorative line. Initially pursuing studies in development and international cooperation, she realized that her childhood passion for creativity persisted. After two years, she made the decision to pivot and study journalism. Spending five more years as a journalist and reporter, another change took place. "I decided to take a break for a year to give art more space in my life," Sara explained. This hiatus turned out to be monumental to her evolution as an artist.


"As a journalist, I was a messenger of stories, dreams, and scars. As an artist, I showcase my own stories, dreams, and scars." With this realization, Sara underwent a transformative artistic revelation.


Rediscovering the Motherland:

"I am currently in Baghdad, settling here," Sara announced. Following her participation in the "Trio Visions" exhibition at "The Gallery" in Baghdad last February, where she put on her neon pink heels and a sequin jumpsuit, Sara mesmerized the attendees with a live painting performance. Armed with water guns and surrounded by her artwork and a giant billboard featuring one of her poems, she showcased her creative process. Sara draws inspiration from children, appreciating their authenticity and sincerity. Ignoring the confines of staying within the lines, she found the experience liberating and fun. However, following the event, a shift in Sara's artistic style can be noticed, as if her inner child had woken up from a long nap and now is eager to play, this time under the shade of Iraq's palm trees.


"Iraq is my motherland, and I've always felt like part of my identity has been lost for me, like it was stolen from me. And since a lot of my art in itself is an expression and interpretation of my identity, Baghdad felt like a given."


Influences from Iraqi Heritage:

Now, the explosive hot pink is encapsulated and bounded by vibrant greenery and traditional patterns that can be found gracing the fabrics inside any Iraqi household, with a central character of a young woman in a dreamlike state. All of that can be seen in Sara's most recent collection titled "In Babylon, My Tears Ran Like Euphrates." Incorporating the influences of her Iraqi heritage, she translates her poems about living in diaspora into paintings, drawing inspiration from Baghdadi politics, historical sights, traditional food, palm trees, shishas, and the rich heritage that marks the beginning of civilization. When asked about her opinion on the Iraqi art scene, she exclaimed, "I'm noticing that the art scene is becoming more inclusive and more diverse, and I love that. I see art as a means to grow as a society, a platform where people can feel and think. And as the platform broadens and becomes more diverse, more perspective gets highlighted, more questions and opinions get raised, and I believe those things are the fundamentals of a healthy, prosperous, and democratic society."


A Babylonian Adventure:

Sara recently had the opportunity to model in a traditional Babylonian costume at Babil's Festival of Culture, walking down the stage amidst ruins dating back 4,000 years. "It was an adventure and an honor. I feel eternally thankful to the Iraqi House of Fashion who featured me." The timing of this experience aligning with her ongoing collection, "In Babylon, My Tears Ran Like Euphrates," adds a touch of serendipity. She anticipates that this experience will inspire her future artwork.


A Future of Expansion:

After all these changes happening in such a short span of time, the question imposes itself on what the future holds for Sara and where the dotted line of life will lead her next. She shares her yearly ritual of choosing a "word of the year," and this year's word is "expansion." Sara aims to become an icon of storytelling, artistic expression, childish authenticity, elegance, and pleasure. Excitingly, she will be exhibiting her current collection in Baghdad this fall, inviting audiences to immerse themselves in her artistic world.


A Voice for Iraqi Female Artists

Representation of female artists remains a pressing issue, particularly in conservative Middle Eastern societies like Iraq. As a female Iraqi artist who grew up abroad, Sara acknowledges the slow progress being made. "My recommendation to all galleries out there, but also media houses, the culture ministry, and all institutions that work with culture and art in one way or another, is to speed up your work when it comes to representation but also diversity - humans need to feel seen and represented to be happy, confident, and contributing citizens," she stated.





Conclusion

Reflecting on Sara's remarkable journey, one can't help but wonder about the countless little Iraqi girls scattered across different countries, sketching their own dotted lines in life. Will their journeys and artistic expressions find their way back to Iraq's canvas, as Sara's did? Only time will tell.


To stay updated on Sara's latest artistic endeavors in Baghdad, follow her on Instagram @Saraalmosaibijasas. We invite you to share your thoughts on her unique style and journey.


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