Skilled artist finds freedom

Free to create: Liverpool artist Atef Al-Abbodi recently won second prize in the Liverpool Art Society Exhibition and Art Award. Picture: Jeff de Pasquale

Free to create: Liverpool artist Atef Al-Abbodi recently won second prize in the Liverpool Art Society Exhibition and Art Award. Picture: Jeff de Pasquale

LIVING in Liverpool has given an Iraqi refugee the freedom to follow his dream of becoming a professional artist.

Atef Al-Abbodi migrated to Australia in 2012 with his wife and three children.

"As you would know, in Iraq there are many problems," he said.

"They would refuse my art because they were based on the female figure, and one time they shot me for it.

"That was when I knew I had to find a safer place for my family."

Mr Al-Abbodi said moving to Australia had allowed him to embrace his art.

"I paint a lot. I even paint for my neighbours and match the colours with their furniture," he said.

"When I was younger my father told me to do something different, something that made money.

"But I chose this as a career because I wanted to do something creative."

Mr Al-Abbodi said the beauty of Australia's natural environment had inspired him to experiment with colour in his works.

"When I came to Australia I was amazed," he said.

"It was clean and green, there were blue skies with white clouds . . . It was very different to Iraq.

"But it is very nice. I love every colour and I can't stop with one. I have to use them all."

Before coming to Australia, Mr Al-Abbodi lived in Syria for six years and worked for the United Nations teaching art to refugees.

"Since coming to Australia, I have learned to speak English at Navitas," he said. "Now I am ready to get a job and start my life here in Australia.

"I hope to get job in teaching or graphic design."

See more of Atef Al-Abbodi's works at facebook.com/atefalabbodi.

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