Iraqi artist Halim Al-Karim underwent a harrowing experience during the first Gulf War. Opposing Saddam’s regime and its compulsory military service he took to hiding in the desert, living for almost 3 years in a hole in the ground covered by a pile of rocks. He survived only through the assistance of a Bedouin woman who brought him food and water and taught him about gypsy customs and mysticism. Al-Karim has since emigrated to America, however, these events have had a profound effect on his life and form the basis for his art practice.
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Al-Karim’s Hidden series is a response to the artists own unimaginable experiences and his ongoing observances of the turbulences in his homeland. With pieces titled Hidden War, Hidden Victims, Hidden Witnesses, Al-Karim raises the awareness of not only the devastating effects of violence, but its many manifestations – both physical and psychological – from the political to the economic and domestic…The Saatchi Gallery
In Sumerian Temple of Love, Al- Karim made his own paper and used swatches of gold textile from Iraq. He cut out the paper and made it look like Arabic architecture. The whole piece is meant to seem like an altar, and it does. When looking at this piece as a whole it is easy to recognize its origins but isn’t so easy to understand its meaning.