Ghassan Enad wants to address the problems of newcomers and integration through art
Ghassan Enad is an Iraqi artist, and he came to Sweden because of the war in his home country. Ghassan came to Sweden in 2007. He was working in Iraq as Editor-in-Chief of the Contemporary Visual Arts Society association.
Ghassan was also the editorial and radio director for the "The voice of the university" magazine. He was threatened because of his activity in educating young people about rights, freedom and democracy. Since he came to Sweden, he has taken upon himself to work with youth issues. He tries hard to help them in many ways.
Recently, he established a cultural association "Da Vinci's Bridges for Arts and Culture" with the aim of creating a platform for young people to express themselves and their different cultures. He believes that the greatest happiness a person can experience is the happiness of accomplishing an artistic work.
Ghassan is currently working as a teacher of design arts at the Pär Lagerkvist school, as well as holding courses in various kinds of painting for youth and children in cooperation with Sensus. In addition to that, he works as a leader in integration projects with newcomers. Ghassan mastered the technique of handling colors and the ability to mix them creatively.
– I have held many different courses in art such as sketching, acrylic painting, painting on fabric, clothing design, crafts, painting on glass, photography course and courses in culture. We have also had a large photography exhibition. Every year on Culture Night my participants and I go to Växjö Library and show our works of art. I have also worked outside Växjö and held courses for asylum-seeking children where we drew and gave them the painting as gifts. I worked for a year with a Swedish colleague at radio where we together, in different languages, discussed newly arrived teenagers' problems in Sweden and suggested solutions for it. Recently, I decided to open a cultural association. Which will be a bridge between cultures, especially the culture of East and West. But I was shocked that I could not get a place. As it is not possible to get a headquarters until after a full year. Although, I held courses and activities for seven years without a place. Currently we have more than 500 members from different nationalities, most of them are young people and are hungry for a cultural club that brings them together, Ghassan says.
Ghassan believes that some young people tend to have criminal behaviour because they cannot express themselves. As he indicates that the teenager who is marginalized and does not meet the place through which he discharges his energy, will surely drain this energy in chaos or carry out a criminal act. “The refugees or Newcomers to Sweden are experiencing an internal struggle. So, they do not feel satisfied with themselves, nor is the Swedish citizen satisfied with them.” he says.
As a comer to Sweden, Ghassan Enad has a different view on integration.
– It is true that we live today in Swedish society, but there is no real integration. We are just like water and oil. The reason for this gap is that the person coming to Sweden does not get an opportunity to express himself. Not only through work, because we work for eight hours, and sleep for eight hours, and there are eight other hours for expressing ourselves. Culture is the best way to do this. Culture is what liberated man and made him more human and civilized. Consequently, most of those coming to Sweden have two options, the first is the trend towards religiousness and extremism, and the second is the direction to chaos in the name of freedom. Therefore, I see artistic creativity as the compromise solution to contain these energies and invest them in a way that benefits the person himself and society. I want to meet one of the officials in the municipality and discuss the statistics of criminal incidents such as thefts, drugs and rapes, and I am ready to cooperate in order to reduce these problems within one year. I will create from the common person a creative person, he says.
What do you like to show through your paintings?
– I drew on all schools of painting and I was good at it. But all these paintings are incomparable to the paintings that reflect the feelings and condition of women. So, the obsession is women's issues. My paintings embody sadness and pain, anticipation, joy, love, and a lot of women emotions. Because a woman is a mass of feelings. So, every painting that I made I feel is a part of me and I hesitate a lot to sell it. Because its intangible value is much more than its material value. I usually prefer to dedicate my paintings than sell them. And I gave a lot of them to friends and some institutions.
Is the beauty of nature in Sweden an inspiration for you?
– The beauty of nature in Sweden in general, and in Växjö in particular, explodes the creative energy in me. Because I feel this beautiful. And I always tell other people that they are in the most beautiful place in the world Växjö is the only city in the world with a high level of oxygen. I wish to give it the same beauty it embraced us with.