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Ala Bashir was born in Iraq in 1939, eighteen years after his country declared independence from Britain. As an artist and physician, Bashir was once not only part of Saddam Husseinís medical team, but his reluctant confidant too. The resultant works from this period are given shocking context by Saddamís remark that they would be Ďa record of Iraq at (that) point in historyí.
The artistís style is easily comparable to that of the surrealists, yet these nightmarish visions are not dreams- they depict the very real suffering he was witnessing daily. Unexpected directions in style often make his work difficult to decipher, whilst recurring signs such as the raven and the mask draw directly from traditional Iraqi imagery.
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