In my paintings, I observe themes of emotional close connections and divisions as well as my deepening sense of time and history. These themes are inspired by my heritage of constantly being connected to ancient and present culture while growing up in Baghdad, Iraq and also by being a North Carolinian for the past twenty-eight years.

I am fascinated by God's creations as I spend time staring at human faces, shapes, gestures, feelings and movements. I feed these images and emotions to my daydreams and imagination which inspire ideas for my paintings.

Because of its short drying time, I use acrylic paint for my style of building layers of colors as I also choose to maintain an intense momentum while expressing the flow of feelings during painting.

Colors have a powerful symbolism. They speak to me as individuals when I use their power in my work. By blending colors to create a hazy luminosity, I strive to create a deeper dimension to my paintings that gives the feeling of the images' disappearance into the unknown. Psychologically, humans are curious to know more and they naturally bring their own selves to the unusual subjects and images I bring into the painting. I try to guide the viewer to those feelings we all search for. I have developed this painting style to create images of an ongoing conversation about life.

I feel wonderful when I succeed in making my images speak for themselves and make a connection with the viewer.

My Story

In March of 2004, a year after the US invasion, I visited Baghdad after 24 years of separation. My brother Ahmed who lives in France, traveled with me to Baghdad. We flew from Paris to Amman, Jordan and immediate taxied to Baghdad. It was about an 18 hours trip, non stop. It was indescribable feeling to see my family for the first time with a strange anxiety mixed with fear of coming back to a place after along time. Seeing things had become smaller and older. Hearing the Arabic language as if I'm rediscovering my old vocabularies


The new generation of my family in at my uncle and cousin's home.

I documented this trip in my sketch book and I also documented it with my digital snap shot camera. I exhibited these photos in a local gallery in Charlotte, NC and several other local venues. These photo left a different and positive impressions to the viewers in comparison to what they see daily from the media.


My father in the center at his gallery in Baghdad. His artwork behind him

My story started when I came to the US in the summer of 1980 to visit an old Iraqi friend from childhood who lived in Lenior, NC.
A week before my departures to Baghdad the war between Iran and Iraq broke out and travel to Iraq was closed. Days and months passed with fear of going back. A year later I decided to stay instead of going back to be drafted in a mandatory enrollment for the Iraqi army and fight in a war with Iran.

During my time in high school and college I became a political cartoonist to several major magazines and newspapers in Baghdad. I was trying hard to be noticed as a new cartoonist with a modern style of cartooning, less wording and sharp satiric ideas. I remember I was asked by the editor of the Alphabet magazine about the meanings of some of my cartoons before they were published especially the ones with double meanings.

Slide show of photos from my trip to Baghdad-Iraq

See my cartoons in the Iraqi publication during the70's

See my cartoons web pages at: .Raed Al-Rawi Cartoons

See my brother's, Ahmed Nurie, web site in France.