Portrait of an Artist in an Endless War
After her father is murdered and ISIS rampages her hometown, a 22-year-old art student tries desperately to pick up the pieces.
Photos by Mohammed Abdullah
Sarah was sitting on the sofa next to her mother and sister, drawing in pencil while her brother played on the floor beside them, when the TV suddenly caught their attention: ISIS was attacking their hometown, Mosul. A curfew for all residents was announced.
This was back on June 1, 2014 when Sarah, now 22, was a third-year art student. Many of her drawings show the face of a woman with long, dark hair, her eyes closed. (Sarah agreed to share her story, but declined to include her last name or have her photo taken, as she believes if ISIS finds out about this interview, they will kill her family.)
Sarah, who had been visiting her mother and siblings that day, called her husband, Nasser. She had wed her neighbors’ nephew in an arranged marriage two years earlier to avoid being married off to her cousin. Nasser was working as a paramedic in the Iraqi Army. He had just gone to his own mother’s house to take a rest when Sarah called him. He came over.
The fighting …