Nour Jamal’s art exhibition at the Asbestos Art Space: A journey to a safer life?

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Nour Jamal is one of the thousands of Iraqi asylum seekers who came to Finland in 2015. He came to Finland with his parents and sister in the hope of finding a better life free from war and where human rights are respected.

Jamal is holding an art exhibition from June 8-11 at the Asbestos Art Space located on Mäkelänkatu 45, 00550 Helsinki. 

Even if his parents were granted asylum, his sister’s and his application for asylum were rejected. They are appealing the decision by the Finnish Immigration Service.

“This art exhibition is all about struggle,” he said. “And about the uncertainty we face [as asylum seekers in Finland] because we still don’t know what is going to happen to us tomorrow.”

Jamal, who uses acrylic and ink in his paintings, said that he did these works of art “in less than a month.”

“It was really fast,” he said. “I painted in Iraq as well but I lacked the time and motivation.”

Jamal said that the painting above, “Faceless people,” is about asylum seekers crossing from Turkey to Greece. “They are faceless people because they can drown and nobody cares or wants to know who they are,” he said. On the upper left corner is Alayn Al-Kurdi, the three-year-old boy that became one of the most famous faceless people when his corpse was found washed ashore.

Different paintings of asylum seekers traveling in Europe during the day and night. “The painting in the corner is a child who thinks about home,” said Jamal.

Pictures taken from the #RightToLife demonstration at the Helsinki Railway Square. Jamal has been one of the most active demonstrators since it began in February.