Qasim Sabti Introduction

Iraqi Phoenix

Qasim Sabti is the founder of a group of Iraqi artists called “The Iraqi Phoenix,” owing not only to their own survival during their country’s war and upheaval but to their creative vision that persisted. Among the most important of Sabti’s artworks are those that were literally reborn from the ashes of Baghdad. He gave new life to book covers that he found scattered about the burned and looted Baghdad Art Academy where he teaches, and at the National Library. During the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, the Academy was looted and books were torn up and strewn about in the streets. In this aftermath, Sabti gathered up hundreds of book covers and turned them into abstract collages. Not only are these works striking but they possess significance for a specific historic moment. Sabti is Vice-President of Iraqi Plastic Artists Society and Secretary of the Iraqi Cultural Council. His paintings are in private collections throughout Europe, the Middle East, the United States, Japan, and Korea.