Refugee artist in Australia named for art prize

Published May 6, 2022
Artist Mostafa Azimitabar speaks about his work in Sydney on Thursday.—AFP
Artist Mostafa Azimitabar speaks about his work in Sydney on Thursday.—AFP

SYDNEY: A refugee held for eight years in Australia’s hardline immigration system earned a finalist spot in the nation’s top art prize on Thursday — for a self-portrait he painted with a toothbrush.

For artist Mostafa Azimitabar, a Kurd who fled persecution in Iran, the honour came just over a year after he was released from one of Australia’s notorious immigration hotels.

He said a finalist berth for the Archibald — a portrait prize worth $72,192, which has been awarded to some of Australia’s most esteemed artists — was “one of the best moments of my life”.

Azimitabar’s self-portrait was painted using a toothbrush, a technique he began experimenting with in 2014, soon after being put into one of Australia’s offshore immigration detention camps on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.

“I asked one of the officers on Manus: ‘Can I have some paint?’... I would like to do some artwork because I don’t want to give up’,” he recalled.

Published in Dawn,May 6th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Warming ties
05 Jul, 2022

Warming ties

BILATERAL ties with the US are clearly on the mend after an extensive rough patch under the PTI government. While ...
LNG emergency
Updated 05 Jul, 2022

LNG emergency

The problem is that Pakistan does not have sufficient cash at the moment to buy even a single LNG cargo at present prices.
The invisible half
05 Jul, 2022

The invisible half

WHAT better illustrates the Afghan Taliban’s misogynistic and mediaeval worldview than the fact that not a single...
Wise counsel
Updated 04 Jul, 2022

Wise counsel

Fuelling the fires of communalism for petty political gains is dangerous and can have a long-lasting impact on India’s stability.
Hazardous waste
04 Jul, 2022

Hazardous waste

GIVEN we have not yet developed streamlined systems for managing locally produced hazardous waste, we are inviting...
Mob ‘justice’
04 Jul, 2022

Mob ‘justice’

OVER the past few days, a string of deadly incidents has been reported from Karachi in which enraged mobs have...