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Gulala steps up to the top
Gulala Hamid next to one of her paintings showing the drying up of the Bawa Shaswar Dam in Kifri district due to climate change. KirkukNow

By Laila Ahmed in Garmian

Gulala steps up to the top

  • 2022-12-15

“I have worked hard and sacrificed, but I am looking forward to the top.” Gulala did not give up despite the challenges and obstacles.

Hamid's insistence and ignoring the obstacles in front of her, as she says, has made those who were once against her, now help and support her, which made her proud.

Hamid, 30, a teacher at the Institute of Fine Arts in Kifri and the head of the Girls Art Group, is one of the prominent artists and activists in Kifri district.

She was employed as a teacher at the Kifri Institute of Fine Arts in 2014, after winning first place as a student.

After the establishment of the Kifri Girls Artist Group; Gulala was elected as the leader of the group, which was founded by artist Darbaz Majid.

“The aim of this group is to showcase the abilities and work of women working in the arts, to develop their abilities through various activities, opening exhibitions and participating in national events,” said Gulala, who is now the group's president.

Several paintings of Gulala at an exhibition. KirkukNow

When the coronavirus spread around the world and reached Iraq, Gulala thought of spreading health awareness through art and asking people to protect themselves, by drawing pictures and posting them on social networks.

In the past two years, Iraq has been facing drought and climate change, its environment and greenery are under threat, so Gulala has devoted her artwork to fighting environmental threats.

Gulala, who is also the president of Kimash for Human Development, spreads environmental messages in schools and calls for the protection of water resources.

One of Gulala's paintings that went well among the people and had a resonance was the painting of the drying up of the Bawshaswar Dam in Kifri. For comparison, she had a painting when the dam was full of water in previous years.

“The drying up of the dam hurt me a lot, so I drew the second painting and compared it together.” Gulala's goal is to show people to pay more attention to the environment, prepare for climate change and protect water resources.

Her work in the field of art changes according to the needs of society and the situation. Even when women face violence, she devotes her paintings to women's issues and wants to convey women's voices through art.

Gulala Hamid talks about the message of a painting to former Iraqi minister Faryad Rawandzi. KirkukNow

“Currently, my work is more focused on raising awareness and combating violence against women,” she added.

The 16-day campaign to end violence against women in Iraq and the world began on November 25. According to the United Nations, more than five women or girls were killed by a family member every hour last year, 45% of women either themselves or a woman they know have experienced violence.

“Through art, I spread my message to fight violence against women and families. Violence has become a threat to women's lives,” Gulala added.

“I have been criticized by citizens for many of my paintings, saying that the message or the painting should not be in our society and does not fit with our traditions,” she recalls.

“I have even been mentally tortured many times. For example, they have opened pages in my name on social media networks and published articles against my paintings which hurt me, but they couldn't stop me.”

Another painting by Gulala about protection of water resources and preparations for climate change. KirkukNow

As an artist, she has faced many obstacles during his career, whether from society or even his family. "They complained a lot."

“Painting and art are part of my soul and have been the blend of my life... However, art has become my livelihood,” she says.

"My paintings have attracted the attention of the Deputy Prime Minister and have been hung inside the Council of Ministers," she proudly said.

“I decided to choose the path of success. It is difficult for a woman to reach the peak of success in Garmian. My work has made those who were once against me now help, support and encourage me. This is a victory.”


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