Art And Culture

Iraqi Artist Shows ‘Ugly Faces’ of IS With Old Shoes

Iraqi Artist Shows ‘Ugly Faces’ of IS With Old ShoesIraqi Artist Shows ‘Ugly Faces’ of IS With Old Shoes

An Iraqi artist has transformed worn-out shoes and trash into works of art to illustrate the ‘ugliness’ of the Islamic State (IS) group. Using old footwear salvaged from local shoemakers, Akeel Khreef has created ugly-looking ‘shoe faces’ to decorate an entire wall of his house. The mural is set to go on display in a London gallery this summer.

“I took these worn-out shoes and turned them into a metaphor for the conflict that has torn the Muslim community apart.”

“I decided to call my project ‘the faces of Islamic State group’ because it symbolizes the group’s hideous, barbaric face and its assassins who spread terror and death,” he said reports

Some media outlets have tried to make the link between “my work and the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoe at former US president George W. Bush in 2008. They say that throwing shoes is an offensive gesture common in Iraq and throughout the Arab world. As a matter of fact, my work has nothing to do with that. I would never encourage that kind of behavior, and I assure you that the practice definitely isn’t commonplace in my country.”

  Second Life

He mainly works with objects found in dustbins. “I try to give them a second life. For this project, I salvaged a bunch of worn-out shoes from local shoemakers. I wanted to use them as a metaphor for the conflict that has been ripping the Muslim community apart.”

For me, the Islamic State group stands for more than just a group of so-called jihadists. It stands for Arab dictators, corrupt officials, and people who provoke hatred between different communities. Several people have sent threatening messages to my Facebook account. I have no idea whether these threats come from genuine IS members or just sympathizers. But I am far more fortunate than those soldiers sent to the frontlines to fight or the dozens of women and children massacred.”

Every one of his works tells a story. For example, “I found this bike in a trashcan and I transformed it into a work of art. When I was a child, I couldn’t afford a bike so, with this piece, I think I am trying to make up for my childhood frustrations,” he adds.