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Apr 26, 2015
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Yazidi Artist Ammar Salim Documents ISIS Massacres

#4896 | 02:18
Source: Sky News Arabia (UAE)

In a TV interview, Yazidi artist Ammar Salim talks about his paintings, in which he portrays the tragedies suffered by the Yazidis at the hands of ISIS. Despite death threats, "Ammar stresses that he will continue to paint in order to make the voice of the Yazidis heard and to keep their ordeal on peoples' minds," according to the report, which aired on Sky News Arabia on April 26, 2015.

Following are excerpts:

Reporter: Since ISIS gained control of wide swathes of Iraq, members of the Yazidi minority are among the victims of this organization. Yazidis have been killed, captured, wounded, and forced to become refugees. This is the only thing said about the Yazidis in the international media. Ammar Salim is a Yazidi artist, trying to break this stereotypical view of the Yazidis by means of art.

Ammar works diligently in his small apartment, which he converted into a studio after fleeing from his home in Bashiqa. Ammar has entered a phase of intensive work, as can be seen by the paintings on the walls of this small room in the city of Duhok, in Kurdistan, northern Iraq. He says that he was inspired by the atrocities perpetrated by the Islamic State against the Yazidis.

Ammar Salim: [My paintings] speak of the annihilation of the Yazidis, of the justice. Perhaps in a little while, I will paint the [Camp] Speicher massacre. Whatever ISIS does, I will oppose them. I document everything I see in my paintings.

Reporter: Despite all the tragedies that the Yazidis have suffered, Ammar's art is not limited to painting [the troubles] of his own sect. Ammar, who suffers from a lack of financial resources, tries to paint with cheap materials, if he can get his hands on them. That is not the only thing he suffers from. Ammar says that he has received death threats since his paintings have appeared on many social networks.

Ammar Salim: After one painting, I received threats through Facebook. They sent me a message: "If you do not burn that painting, we will kill you. We know where to find you."

Reporter: But despite the threats, Ammar stresses that he will continue to paint in order to make the voice of the Yazidis heard, and to keep their ordeal on people's minds.


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