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

Back to bedlam
Updated 25 May, 2022

Back to bedlam

FEAR tactics have never worked in the past, and most likely will not this time either. The government’s ...
25 May, 2022

Balochistan blaze

THE forest fire on the Koh-i-Sulaiman range in Balochistan’s Shirani area is among a series of blazes to have...
25 May, 2022

Unequal citizens

INDIFFERENCE would have been bad enough, but the state’s attitude towards non-Muslims falls squarely in the...
Updated 24 May, 2022

Marching in May

MORE unrest. That is the forecast for the weeks ahead as the PTI formally proceeds with its planned march on...
24 May, 2022

Policy rate hike

THE State Bank has raised its policy rate by 150bps to 13.75pc, hoping that its latest monetary-tightening action...
24 May, 2022

Questionable campaign

OVER the past couple of days, a number of cases have been registered in different parts of the country against...