Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Jewish artist invited to Iraq

Iraqi-born artist Oded Halahmy is looking forward to his trip to Baghdad. He has been invited by the Iraqi government to visit the country. He plans to tour sites of Jewish interest - such as the tomb of the prophet Ezekiel at al-Hilla - and to write a book.

In December 2003, a menorah sculpted by Halahmy was placed in front of the presidential palace in Baghdad to mark the first festival of Hanucah since the liberation of Iraq.

Halahmy sees himself as an ambassador for peace. He is optimistic about the future of Iraq. He hopes eventually to divide his time between Tel-Aviv, New York and Baghdad.

The sculptor left Baghdad aged 12 in 1950 when the bulk of the Jewish community was airlifted to Israel. But his work has always been influenced by images of the Middle East and from his Baghdad childhood - pomegranates, palm trees and the Hand which protects against the Evil eye.

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