I make bespoke dresses and accessories, hand painting fabrics and furnishings – everything from silk, cotton, textiles, glass and leather.
I like to transfer my passion for my Mesopotamian culture and civilization into wearable items, such as scarves, t-shirts, skirts – even home furnishings such as curtains, cushions, sofas.
The message I am trying to send with my work is that I am here. I am a survivor of cancer, and of the conflict and corruption in my former home of Baghdad, Iraq. I am still fighting to realise my dream to leave an impression in the fashion industry.
During the embargo, Iraq was struggling economically; even clothes became scarce and lacked imagination. So, I tried to modify the clothes available to best suit me; I would paint on fabrics to create new styles and turn the drab into fab.
I started my career studying Business Administration at the University of Baghdad and working eleven years as a senior administrator for the Department of Construction (Bridges and Highways). Soon after, I left Iraq to marry my husband who was a political refugee in France. I travelled through several countries, including Jordan, Tunisia, Libya and Syria, to join my husband in Paris.
In France, I studied French language for the first time. Whilst studying at university I attended a lot of art courses to develop my techniques at different education establishments. This enhanced the new stage of my life where I had the time to improve my sewing and design skills. I remember the very first thing I made: a scarf with Arabic Calligraphy designs in strong primary colours such as yellow for the sun, green for the palm trees, blue for the sky, black for Mesopotamian and red for the love of the people in Iraq.
I made patterns and clothing designs for my daughters as my passion for experimentation grew. I was inspired to celebrate special occasions by gifting scarves and t-shirts to friends and family.
I continued to paint scarves during my recovery at hospital, during a recent cancer scare. I will never forget how my doctor encouraged me to fight against cancer, using creativity to help to alleviate some of my pain and depression. This activity enabled my ongoing recovery and acted as a form of therapy for me.
It’s a relief to live in a country as multicultural as the UK, to be able to pursue creativity with enthusiasm: I started off volunteering at 306 Collective and have continued my journey through the support of Create Your Future’s workshops and friendly encouragement.
In addition to exhibiting my work with 306 collective, in the past I’ve participated in Arabic Baazars in London. My next step is to create my own website. I’m currently seeking support for this through Create Your Future’s Micro Business support programme.
I am looking forward to developing my techniques of screen-printing and extend to wallpaper and interior design. My long-term dream is to support my community by teaching young adults how to recycle and adapt their clothing and thereby reduce their dependency on commercial labels and products.
Studio 28 – Chocolate Factory 1
Wood Green N22 6XJ