Date: Saturday, Sept. 11
Time: 6-9:30 p.m.
Location: Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames, 1015 N. Hyland Ave


Join us for an artist’s reception for the exhibit “Caravan of Exile: Recent Paintings of Amer Alobaidi” in the UUFA Gallery in the Round on Sept. 11 from 6-9:30 p.m. There will also be Middle Eastern food, music and dance.

Amer Alobaidi is a well-known Iraqi artist whose work can be found in nearly every major museum of modern art in the Middle East. Mr. Alobaidi is the former Director of the National Museum of Modern Art in Baghdad, which was looted during the war, and served as the General Director of Fine Arts of Iraq for five years. This show, entitled “Caravan of Exile,” presents Mr. Alobaidi’s newest work. His colorful large-format paintings feature groupings of human figures, horses, and birds, in various evocative scenes from Arabian legend and present-day life. The show runs from August 30 – October 8; hours are Monday – Friday, 10-2 or by appointment. The public is especially invited to attend the artist’s reception, on Saturday, September 11, from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m., at which there will be live music and Middle Eastern food and dancing. This celebration, occurring the day after the 2010 Ramadan season ends and on the 9th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the U.S., is part of Ames’ 11 Days of Global Unity, and should serves to remind us that the human spirit communicated through the arts transcends that which divides us.

Mr. Alobaidi’s story is almost as dramatic as his paintings. His family was forced to leave Iraq in 2007, when the country was wracked with sectarian violence bordering on a civil war. At that time, many of the nation’s intellectual elite were targeted by extremists. He lost a son in a car-bomb explosion, which also wounded his wife Sawsan. The couple fled to Syria with their then-17-year-old daughter Bedor, where Mr. Alobadi continued to paint and sell his paintings to dealers and collectors who knew his work. When their safety even in exile felt compromised, they were relocated as refugees to Des Moines. Only one canvas made the trip with them. In the two years since their arrival in August, 2008, Mr. Alobaidi’s work has evolved to reflect his journey and recreate a world of beauty where family, community, tradition, and loss all play a part.