Iraqi artists honour victims of terror attack on UN Baghdad headquarters

To mark the official end of the mourning period in the Muslim tradition, exactly 40 days after the 19 August 2003 terrorist bombing on the UN compound in Baghdad, a group of young Iraqi artists opened an art show at the capital's exhibition centre. The 30 works of art, mostly paintings as well as some sculptures, represent the artists' vision of the blast and the aftermath of the tragedy, which killed 22 people, including top UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.

T he artists never met with Sergio Vieira de Mello or his team but they all decided to pay a special tribute for those that lost their lives in trying to help the Iraqi people.

"The Absence"
by Farid Alzubaydi
This painting is for the Iraqi people to remember what Sergio de Mello did for Iraq, I never met him personally but I know he was a man of peace, with a great respect for human dignity. He came to Iraq to help us, the Iraqi population. This painting is my personal tribute. His death is a shame and all around him you can see the victims of the bomb, all the victims…

“No Title”
by Salah Majeed Ahmid
The black silhouette shows Sergio de Mello, he left everything to come to Iraq, his family, his friends, his country just because he wanted to help the Iraqis, the yellow colour his him bringing hope to Iraq, yellow is the light, the future, it is hope mixed with the UN blue colour next to it, the presence of the UN in the country. The black colour represents the terrorists that committed that atrocity… those colours put together are the feeling I have now, hopes in the future of my country and my fears of chaos…

“No Title”
by Refla Alhamdany
If you look in the centre of the painting you will see the black hand, the hand of evil the one that carried the grenade which is in fact the truck with the bomb, and then you see the blue hand, the UN hand that helps the Iraqi people, the red on top is the blood, the victims, the ones that died but also the ones that were injured and the green face is peace, the colour of peace that is so important for us. The people that died on 19 August were all people of peace…

alm Tree and blood"
by Afaf Aljanby
This painting has lots of meaning, on the right you see the black crowd, they are the terrorist but for me they cannot be Iraqis they are coming from outside, then you have our national emblem, the palm tree, this is our country and the country is bleeding and suffers, on the left hand side you have the blue wave, the UN presence in Iraq that provides assistance to us, and below the silhouette represents Sergio Vieira de Mello he was here to help us and he died because a group of terrorists did not want that to happen…

“No Title”

by Farid Alzubaydi
This painting is a story, the story of a young woman, she had just arrived in Iraq and it was her first day at work, she was 24 old and died in the explosion. When I heard about her I felt so terribly sorry, she was so young….

“ The Wings of De Mello”
by Nabil Hussen
This angel is sad because of the death of Sergio Vieira de Mello. Above the angel you will recognise the symbols of the Iraqi culture, the symbol of our civilisation , our tradition and of Mesopotamia, Sergio Vieira de Mello was involved in the protection of our tradition and our culture and he was working for a better future for all Iraqis…Now the angel is very sad because he does not know who is going to protect our traditions….

“De Mello the immortal”
by Rana Jaffar Yassin
I only do sculptures, abstraction and this one represents a skeleton it can also be seen as the contour of Iraq, a country that needs help and support because it looks very fragile.. This is my representation : Sergio Vieira de Mello came to Iraq to help us to support us and to try to build a better future for the Iraqis, he was not given time to achieve what he wanted to do, that is why the sculpture is like a skeleton….