Saddam still haunts us with a photo collection displaying the fear of post-war Iraqis
The image of former dictator Saddam Hussein has resounded in the minds of many Iraqis since his fall.
“His shadow is still following Iraqi society everywhere,” says Iraqi Kurdish photographer Jamal Penjweny whose series “Saddam is Here” attempts to capture this thought.
“Saddam was dead but I felt as if he was still alive in the way people talked, lied, loved, dreamed and did politics,” Penjweny adds.
“When Saddam Hussein fell, we Iraqis were disoriented. For all our lives, he had always been there. His image was everywhere,” the photographer says, in comments quoted by The Guardian on Saturday.
From dentists, to butchers, to soldiers; Iraqis across the country took part in the Penjweny’s photographic series, covering their faces with pictures of the former dictator while in their everyday locations.
“All the people in the series, no matter where they're from, in Baghdad as in Erbil, in Basra as in Fallujah, have a shared history of fear that we should overcome together. To build a better future we have to confront our past. Art has a key role in this,” Penjweny says.
"The idea for ‘Saddam Is Here’ began in 2007 in Baghdad as I was covering the worst years of the conflict as a photojournalist,” he added.
“Saddam is Here” is one of the many art projects coming out of a post-war Iraq.
A new book, titled “Photojournalists on War: The Untold Stories from Iraq,” presents eye witness accounts from photojournalists covering the Iraq war in an anthology of stories, individuals and acts of heroism that didn’t make headlines.
In the book, photographer and writer Michael Kamber interviews 38 colleagues, including Patrick Baz of Agence France-Presse and the late Chris Hondros who was killed in Libya in 2011.
In-depth interviews give first-person accounts of events from the long conflict that began with the 2003 U.S.-led invasion such as the toppling of former dictator Saddam Hussein’s statue and the battle for Fallujah.