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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 April 2006, 11:51 GMT 12:51 UK
My day in Iraq: Sculptor
On Friday, 7 April, the BBC News website is asking people across Iraq how they live their lives.

Here, Elwan Al Elwan, a sculptor living in Baghdad, talks of the daily hardships he and fellow artists face.

I am a sculptor working in the government's arts department. I have my own kiln.

Elwan Al Elwan
The sculptor hopes to exhibit his work in Amman

In the morning, I work in the department's kiln and in the evening I do my own sculptures.

I have a workshop and am involved in arts projects outside Iraq, such as an exhibition I am getting ready for, which will open in Amman next summer.

I live like someone who has a serious disease. This is what our daily life is like in Iraq. It is the condition of fear.

It is fear of the unknown.

In Iraq, fear is like an epidemic. There is a longing for the creation of a climate without horror. There is a need for security and stability.

Iraqi artists suffer daily hardships: fear, shortages, and sometimes poverty. They aspire to break free of shackles of social, material or human problems.

To me, the condition of fear is like a featureless human with a beak and strange legs, epitomising love of one's country, family and beliefs. It is like a strange bird.

We are not living normal lives. We congratulate ourselves if we are still alive by the end of the day. We only wish to live today. Endless frustrations impede even hopeful thoughts.

It is in the evenings that artists usually look back on the events of the day. It is like reading a book or an article and drawing conclusions from scenes of daily life.


The future is what artists look forward to most. It is an unknown future. They look forward to real values, which boost their existence against a backdrop of decline and a state of private and public fear.

"Endless frustrations impede even hopeful thoughts," says Elwan

There is a place in this world that is suffering: Iraq. It has a millennium-old civilisation yet it is mired in ignorance, poverty and the lack of basic social, human and material values.

The most difficult challenge I face today as an Iraqi artist is seeing the signs of occupation in the streets.

The biggest challenge for an artist or a human is seeing concrete barriers, crowded streets and the absence of basic human things.

I hope Iraqi children will in the future be like children in other countries - using only half the potential of this country.

I hope they will have a future. I also hope our elderly people will have a decent life.


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