Artist who escaped to Canada from Iraq using paint and canvas to raise funds for refugees


A Vancouver artist and former refugee is putting paint to canvas in an exertion to raise dollars for newcomers to Canada as they make the complicated resettlement transition.

Harem Tahir arrived to Canada in 2017 as a refugee. While he has started to uncover his feet in the nation, the transition has not been uncomplicated.

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“I have tons of points I’m struggling with — like my spouse is continue to there,” he instructed International Information.

“My spouse and children again dwelling in Iraq, and, just about every evening when I sleep, I get worried about them, if a little something comes about to them there all over again.”

This unique painting by Harem Tahir is remaining auctioned off with all proceeds likely to support the Immigrant Settlement Society of B.C.

Goldbeck Recruiting

Tahir understands the plight of refugees well.

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Initially from Kurdistan in northern Iraq, he’s been displaced by war four occasions, including 8 years of existence in a refugee camp in Iran, and a flight from ISIS in 2014.

He advised World wide Information he found out a appreciate of art as a younger baby — a passion he explored whilst residing in the Iranian camp, when he would illustrate the tales his mom instructed at night time about what existence was like back property.

After the household returned to Kurdistan in the late 1990s, he obtained official teaching in artwork college, and has considering that held six solo exhibits and participated in additional than 30 exhibitions.

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But as a refugee in Canada, he had trouble reconnecting with his practice amid the problems of adapting to a new country, enhancing his English and finding time to paint whilst doing the job, he reported.

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“I didn’t have any hope, to be sincere,” he stated.

That was right up until he connected with the Immigrant Services Culture of B.C. (ISSofBC). The non-revenue, among the the most significant of its kind in Canada, provides a variety of expert services to refugees and immigrants, from settlement to language to work.

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Tahir said help from the firm assisted him commence to rebuild his everyday living as an artist.

He also acknowledged himself in some of the children he noticed there, and began volunteering to educate art courses.

“They opened the door for me to get to know art right here, the community of artwork, heading to the galleries, introducing me to other artists,” he reported.

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This 12 months, he partnered with the ISSofBC and Goldbeck Recruiting, a Vancouver-dependent work agency to use his artwork to help the organization’s do the job.

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Goldbeck commissioned an unique portray of a Vancouver scene from him — the best of Grouse Mountain — which is staying auctioned off, with all proceeds heading to ISSofBC.

In addition to the authentic becoming marketed at auction, prints of the operate are also currently being bought.

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“We know that artwork and lifestyle are important in all of our life, and we know at the rear of every single statistic of a refugee there’s a story and a journey,” ISSofBC CEO Jonathan Oldman explained.

“Harem is inspiring for the reason that he reminds us that men and women have endured so significantly, but, at the similar time, are thinking about rebuilding their life, giving back again, and offering expression to the comprehensive range of their creative strategies.”

Bidding is open in the auction until eventually midnight Sunday. 


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Kenneth Proto

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