Beth Holden of NEW THEME Architecture is proud to present the premiere exhibition of “Iraqi Artists in Exile” featuring the U.S. premiere of the culturally iconic, works from Iraqi refugee artists. The opening gala will be 7 – 9 p.m. Thursday, October 4, at New Theme’s studio and gallery at 8178 Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles.
“We have a unique opportunity to see a masterful execution of a historically tumultuous point in world history translated, into an artistic form,” says New Theme’s Beth Holden. “Knowing the context of what these artists have been through in their lives really puts into perspective the feelings and emotions invoked in their beautiful works of art.
The artists featured in New Theme’s Premiere Exhibition have all had their lives defined by conflict, fear and even death. Most of the artists were labeled U.S. co-conspirators by the Iraqi militia and exiled from their homeland during the war with Iraq. When the violence worsened in 2006 and work became scarce, some artists — many of whom were students or teachers at the Fine Art Universities in Baghdad — attempted to make ends meet by painting the portraits of U.S. soldiers. The Iraqi government threatened to persecute the artists as U.S. conspirators and their only option was to leave their homeland and families to find refuge in Syria. “I still dream of Iraq,” said artist Khalid Alaani. “Dreaming and imagining a beautiful life, full of colors, happiness and spontaneity.”
Though not all memories are as pleasant. Baghdad born artist Omar Odeh says he is haunted by his persecution in Iraq, and maintains that he does not wish to live in a country in which he is not allowed to paint. Still in Syria and unsure of the future, Odeh says this exhibition has given him a newfound excitement for life that he has almost forgotten about. “Iraq doesn’t feel like home anymore,” says Odeh. “Though my paintings are light and dark, just like every person, I do not want to live in darkness.”
Artists showcased in the exhibit include:
NEW THEME Inc. showcases its architecture, design and furniture in their studio and gallery space, with custom furniture designed and constructed locally in their North Hollywood workshop by Wolfgang Melian.
ABOUT NEW THEME:
New Theme Inc., www.newtheme.net, is a Los Angeles-based architectural and building firm by Beth Holden and partner Wolfgang Melian. Holden launched New Theme, Inc. in 2004, developing and building some of the most innovative and eco-friendly residences and commercial and retail spaces in Los Angeles. New Theme is committed to a healthy environment, creating sustainable strategies in design and building that further to enrich the architectural world. Their diverse clientele reflects Holden and her team’s ability to work with a range of complex programs, as well as fitting within the unique constraints each project holds. Their vertical work environment streamlines the entire process from design to construction to custom-designed furniture, so that the client experiences the financial gains that are a consequence of their unique approach to design and building.