Artists: We Struggled Under Saddam

What was it like to be an artist in Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s regime? “The situation for artists was not good. There was the prohibitive cost of materials and the problem of being blocked off from the outside world, Saddam stopped all government support for art facilities and was interested only in having thousands of portraits of himself made, for which artists were well paid. Although Iraqi art survived underground, State-sanctioned art in Iraq was dying and the galleries were full of works on sale to foreigners at cheap prices.”