Baghdad Artist Creates Work From Scraps Produced By War

Baghdad Artist Creates Work From Scraps Produced By War

Whenever Iraq is mentioned, even if in passing, most tend to link the country with the killing and maiming of conflict and war. But one Baghdad resident of Iraqi nationality may help alter this tendency, with waste and scraps directly or indirectly produced by conflict and war.

Born in the 1990s, Abdel Kader has been collecting waste and scraps. He now runs a scrap art studio. In it, he transforms the waste and scraps into various art work, such as tanks, robots, miniature Harleys and even insects.

Abdel Kader looks enchanted in turning the throw-away waste and scraps into take-home handiwork and artifacts.

"I've made more than 30 [pieces of] handiwork out of scraps, like plastics, steel, wood and other materials. The most important thing in scrap art is ideas. I can rebuild something completely new out of tens of thousands of waste materials, and make artwork, like an animal or a man, and wares, out of scraps," says Abdel Kader.

To begin with, Abdel Kader tried to find peace in his concentration while making small items with scraps. Now his escapist hobby has become a full-time job.

The change is not without surprises and dangers in its evolution. Apart from dodging potential booby-traps in collapsed buildings during his scrap searching trips, Abdel Kader has to make his moves unsuspected by the international security troops which have more often than not mistaken him for a potential terrorist seeking materials for improvised explosive devices or IEDs.

Abdel Kader never gives up no matter what. Now more and more local residents and friends and even police officers who have previously detained him for suspicion have started to help him with collecting waste and scraps.

The more scrap artwork he turns out, the stronger his inner feelings toward Mother Nature gets. He has started to embed environmental protection meaning in his works.

"When I finish a [piece of] work, I want to send a message with it to others. It's not that I have made some handiwork, but that I want them to see how a scrap can be turned into a piece of art work. It's not difficult to collect scraps, as long as every household places a rubbish bin in front of their houses. That can also help make the environment better," says Abdel Kader.

The scrap artist no longer feels lonely. He is joined by some young people in his studio in Bagdad. With his rebuild from waste and scraps, Abdel Kader sincerely hopes that his country will one day genuinely rebuild from waste and scraps as well.