Audio Artist Statement

Artist StatementHiba Jameel
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Hiba Jameel
Time Traveling in Mahjar (Diaspora)
Acrylic, gold leaf on canvas

I revisited my migration experience from 1994 in the current time. In despair between leaving my homeland and anticipating the dream of arriving to the land of the Free. U.S.A., I painted two torn versions of my younger self. One still hanging to her past, her country that is sitting on an oil (gold land) and observing the bus line she and her family including her disabled grandfather used to escape Iraq in the year of 1994. The other version is eager to arrive to the U.S., the land of the free, to start a new life but is being faced with the Zero Tolerance Policy situation. In that dividing line between my past and present I ask myself, how is my home away from home?

Mahjar in Arabic refers to the lands of diaspora of Arabs around the world.

This time travel piece explores the intricacies that immigrants suffered after the application of the "Zero Tolerance Policy" by the Trump Administration. In it I ask how I would feel if I had immigrated to the states in the current decade versus earlier in the past two. 


Hiba Jameel
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Hiba Jameel’s art serves as a way for her to process her world. Whether it is to fulfill her civic duty by criticizing the political climate or to express the sensitive sensual facets of life through painting flayed beautiful nude figures. Or painting to heal from her childhood wounds and engage others in art making via conducting interactive art events. You will see little glass cups decorated with gold in Hiba’s work, along with some mushroom clouds, gold leaf and lots of nude figures. Hiba uses the traditional tea cup she grew up drinking from as a symbol of her heritage and as a part of her identity. She processes the world around her by painting her experiences, using distinct brush strokes, rich color palate, and exaggerated figures. Her paintings have a luster finish, gold and luminescent hues. The human figure to her is a body of language that she can use to interpret experiences and convey messages.


I am a self-taught painter who identifies as a multidisciplinary artist, I paint, program and lead community-based interactive art events. I enjoy involving the public in art making as it elevates our culture and introduces a novel dialogue especially when it is discussing controversial topics.


At the age of 8, life forced me to explore the idea of hope through pain and fear. I found it by making sculptures using shrapnel I found on the streets of Baghdad near my house. Throughout my childhood and well into my adolescence I experienced a lot of disorder in the form of trauma, turmoil, fear, abandonment, instability, escape, terror, religious and traditional restrictions, cancer, death, and grief. Despite all of this, as an adult, I arrived to some form of peace and order. I demonstrate this concept by deconstructing the traditional rules of painting and by creating order from disorder. I paint like I sketch - I start with large areas first, prioritizing form, size or lighting. I make many lines and images until they are combined into one idea. Shadows vary with the intensity of feelings in my work. I use large amounts of paint, and layers to arrive to the core of my intention. Each painting is a theatrical scene that uses color, lines, disorder to find symmetry, normalcy and ultimately arriving to a cohesive order.

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