Basima Saffar from Alqush in the plains of Ninewa, home to the Christian community, has spent almost half of her life for and with art with no income or privilege up to the moment.
Despite all her volunteer services, she is not yet member of union of artists but this has never stopped her from painting, design and theatre.
The famous lady of Alqush likes to design traditional Christian attire.
“No one alike me has spent her life for art in this region. What I have done is a revolution,” Basima was passionately talking to KirkukNow.
Basima was 30 when she started painting, a love for colors from childhood, and now she is 62-year-old lover of arts.
“I m in love and engaged with art.” Basima lives by herself following the death of her parents and has no any fixed income to make her living.
She sells her products once or twice a year in the religious and national events for 15-20 thousand Iraqi Dinars IQD (10-12 USD).
“It is interesting for me to tailor Christian attire from my childhood.”
Though she attended school till class five, she believes art is more about passion than academy.
“All my works are hand-made and never use any machine. I have produced 200 dolls in a month but they are useless at home since there is no proper place to exhibit it and use it in shows,” she sighs.
Basima calls on local and Iraqi officials to allocate a small hall for her art pieces.
She is so deeply engaged with art tht it is obviously reflected in her house which has been turned into a small museum. The house located in the center of Alqush un a narrow bloc is built in an old ‘Eastern” style.
It is made up of three rooms and a kitchen. She exhibits her art in two rooms and lives and sleeps in the third one.
Basima has turned the entire house into a museum by painting everywhere even over the barrel of kerosene.
It is a narration of the region history for the visitors.
“I am decorating it for 10 years but I am afraid I have to sell it,” Basima sobbed due to lack of any funding. “I am famous all over Iraq and Kurdistan but they did not bother even to join me into artists’ union.”
Footage of Basim in her house talking about her life and art.
Basima is skillful as well in writing and directing plays. She has worked as actor and director in several plays all over Iraq, including issues of women and Corona Virus.
Basima was a good player and trainer of volleyball and football as well.
“I have trained tens of girls in volleyball and football. I myself was so strong to lift a cooking gas bottle (25 KG) by one hand. They asked to employ me as a sport teacher since I had many medals.”
Basima is feeling lonely and tired after three decades of non-stop art production. She thinks about leaving her house and hometown, alike all members of her war-ravaged community.
“I want to spend the years I have abroad.”