Online Book Presentation | Salam Atta Sabri: Letters to My Father

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Follow the book presentation 'Letters to My Father' by the Iraqi artist Salam Atta Sabri online.


Salam Atta Sabri (b. 1953, Baghdad) is one of the most important Iraqi artists of his generation. He was raised in an artistic environment – his father Atta Sabri was also an artist – and became familiar from a young age with the work of various well-known (Western) artists, such as Van Gogh and Goya, through the art books in the studio.

The artist trained as a ceramist, but also produces sculptures, paintings and drawings. He first lived in the United States for sixteen years – where he also studied at California State University in Los Angeles – and then in Jordan, before returning in 2005 to the city of his birth, where he continues to live and work.

Atta Sabri’s return to Baghdad is a connecting theme of the many drawings he has made since 2005, works in which he endeavours to grasp, interpret and critically engage with the immense and conflicting changes that have occurred, the corruption, the constant violence and the political instability into which his country has fallen. Due to a shortage of art supplies in Iraq, he initially created these works in pencils borrowed from his daughters. From that point onwards, Atta Sabri created literally hundreds of drawings, which function as both a personal visual archive and a diary of the evolutions in Baghdad and Iraq.

The drawings entitled ‘Letters to my father’ (2010 - 2019) are published in their entirety in the book of the same name and can be viewed as visual letters with textual insertions to a beloved father. They are an intimate snapshot of a one-way conversation between the artist and his father; both biographical and historical, as though a combination of diary and correspondence.

Practical information
  • On Tuesday 16 February 2021 at 20:00
  • Short film about Salam Atta Sabri (in English, Dutch and Arabic)
  • Montage of conversation between Salam Atta Sabri, Tamara Chalabi and Philippe Van Cauteren (in English, Dutch and Arabic)
  • Direct questions and answers (in English)
  • The link to the online book presentation will follow later.

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