This is for you, women fighters on the front lines of creativity.
For long hours I observed her, standing, reaching for the ephemeral inexistence of the material, in a strange face-to-face.
I followed her with my gaze, as she pushed one of her slender fingers into the wet clay, playing it against her palm, hesitating over a curve, a hollow, filling it in, then taking up a misshapen clump, beginning over and over again.
But that is not all…
I saw her, attentive, loving, grazing the clay with infinite tenderness, smoothing out the bumps in a search for a fragile instant of harmony. A face emerged from her hands, that of an unfinished man, in the rough. Then, finally, she etched out a line, provoking the hint of a smile.
At the Erbil University of Fine Arts, at the heart of the creative effervescence of students in a newly forming country, she seems to have found her place. She had resolved to begin a silent and intimate dialogue with him, her alter ego in clay that she had brought to life with her hands.
I have always thought that woman is blessed with a supreme creative power, that of giving life to both things and human beings.
In that moment, I remembered some of the fates of these Kurdish women—poised between struggle and grace, renunciation and creation, battlefront and hearth, shadow and light, sorrow and joy, winter and spring, between war and peace.
The elders know that one must be born at least once in order to be reborn. Thus they sow the seeds of rebirth. You see, while it is woman who makes man, it is the culture transmitted from generation to generation that forges the strength and the identity of a people.
Sometimes, a shadow darkens insouciance. But, here, more than ever, life is hope.
Text written by Rachel Deghati
Excerpt of “HOPE ” from Kurdistan Renaissance project