Seeking Safety

Harem Jamal


Everybody has a different way of telling their story and addressing the message they have. I, as an artist, have more responsibility to share with the public not only my story but the stories of thousands and millions of people worldwide who are victims of what is happening worldwide. I might not have a solution, but I can’t close my eyes and ignore it. Even if it didn’t affect me, I wanted to sympathize with the others because I grew up in a hard life with lots of difficulties.

 My art represents the disaster and misery that happen worldwide to anyone who faces it and has been a victim. No matter where they are from, their religion, or their color. We are all human and from a small planet, and we all need life opportunities and rights. But, on the other hand, my work is about my life, the story of my life, my childhood, and what we lost and may lose because of war, human disaster, and not having safety and human rights. 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.

 It is not easy to leave one’s land, family, friends, and career, come to a new country, start over from zero, and have lots of struggles. Sometimes you lose your identity and what you had materially and spirituality. Who would like to do that if they had a choice? There was no possibility of continuing life back there. I read somewhere that “nobody wants to put their children on a boat unless the water is safer than their land.” It’s true; we see a lot of people dying in the ocean every year trying to get to a safe place. Who would choose to do that to their children and family?

I focus on children in war zones, and most of my artworks are about them because I was born in a war zone and lost my childhood there. Some of my paintings are the children’s feet and shoes. I tried to show what they have been through, their story, and their pain through their feet and shoes. Instead of spending time with kids and playing, I worked in a brick factory with my family to survive.