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The Story of Ghazi and His Art about Finland

Updated: Sep 15, 2023
Photo by Juha Roisko

Asukas-tilas (common living rooms with residential activity facilities) are excellent places in Finland where many events are organized for free. People can also gather there to read books and newspapers, have a nice warm cup of tea or coffee, use various services, and enjoy the company of friends. There are also many free courses, such as Finnish courses for foreigners. It is wonderful every time there to attend a Finnish course and to see all the colorful paintings of Ghazi there on the wall and himself sitting on a chair saying warmly hello to everybody and sending love to friends. Ghazi has become the main ‘joy-emitter’ of the asukas-tila, the kind grandfather who is always present and vital.

The bridge between Iraq and Finland

I have been living here in Finland for 7 years. I am originally from Iraq, and I am 82 years old. I was a teacher of the Arabic language. I left Iraq as a refugee and went to Greece. Then I came to Finland from Greece, and a friend helped me get a visa for Finland.

I lived in Giordan for half a year as well. Two of my daughters still live there. They are married and have family there.

My son was killed because he refused to go to war. He was 23 years old. His wife and two kids live in Iraq now. I left Iraq when my son was killed; I didn’t want to stay there anymore.

I have another son who lives in Iraq; one daughter also lives in Iraq; my wife died after our son's death. One of my daughters lives in Finland, in Vantaa, and works as a nurse with elderly people.

I can not return to Iraq, but I want to visit my daughters in Jordan, hopefully soon.

Ghazi´s Life in Finland

Yes certainly. I greatly appreciate Finland because they have taken very good care of me. They have given me a home, shelter, food, medicine, and other services I need daily.

I have friends here also, especially in Asukas-Tila. They are all very kind to me. It is a joy for me to come and visit people here. I chat with them, exchanging smiles and hugs in a friendly atmosphere. It makes me happy. I appreciate all of them.

Ghazi´s artwork is inspired by the nature of Finland.

All my photos and paintings are about Finland, and some are about Iraq. Because I love nature, I love flowers and birds. Finland has a beautiful nature, so creating artwork is very inspiring. It makes me happy to create these drawings and give them as presents to other people too. I have given my paintings to many friends and offered them to Asukas-tila, and they have hung them on the wall all around. It is a pleasure to see my artwork bring so much color here for everyone who visits. It is like my footprint goes all around and lives with me, and after that, I still continue to live. Several years ago, my paintings were brought to an exhibition at the Pointin Kirjasto, a public library in Vantaa.

I make the paintings sometimes at night at my home, with much love and in peace, but often I go to the forest and into Finnish nature to paint.

Knowing these paintings are like bridges is truly powerful and astonishing. As the great Persian poet Rumi says, it is precise: “Love is the bridge between you and everything." Therefore, I am so grateful for this gift; it brings me joyful and peaceful moments.

And especially when I share my stories about them, my connection with others gets even more beautiful and meaningful.

Ghazi's message to our readers

Yes, I have a powerful message: Don’t give up. Try until the last minute. Enjoy life. My friends always tell me that I have a sense of humor and emit joy, a message of hope for everybody.

“All loves are a bridge to Divine love. Yet, those who have not had a taste of it do not know.

Apart from Love, everything passes away. The way to heaven is in your heart. Open and lift the wings of Love. " - RUMI-
Photo by Juha Roisko



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