Enlightening Entertainment
The Aesthetic Side of Faces: Prominent Iraqi-born Portrait Artist Haydar Al-Yasiry (In Arabic)      
Today’s Enlightening Entertainment will be presented in Arabic, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Thai and Spanish.

Happy viewers, welcome to Enlightening Entertainment on Supreme Master Television. Today’s program features distinguished Iraqi-born portrait artist Mr. Haydar Al-Yasiry.

Mr. Haydar Al-Yasiry was trained as an artist in the beautiful country of Iraq. He further advanced his career as a portrait painter and art designer for several newspapers and journals. More recently, he has been the artistic manager of the “Immigrant Magazine.” He has put on several exhibitions and wrote a book on caricature portrait, which is being published.

Mr. Al-Yasiry is also skilled in theater decoration, teaching, photography, newspaper design, as well as restoration and maintenance of archeological artworks. Now residing in the United States, he is a member of Iraqi Society of Artists, Arabic Caricaturists – Syria, Union of Iraqi Artists, Portrait Society of America, American Society of American African Artists – Michigan, Society of Hispanic Americans – Detroit, and the Qatar Group for Fine Art. He is also the co-founder of Iraqi Association of Iraqi Artists in Michigan and the Albab Theatrical Group of Detroit.

The experiences early in Mr. Al-Yasiry’s life shaped his unique creative style. His caricature portraits are marked by insightful depictions of the character through meticulous details and well-coordinated colors. Recently, Supreme Master Television had the pleasure of meeting the talented Mr. Haydar Al-Yasiry. Mr. Al-Yasiry’s vivid paintings are quite impressive; he shares with us how his artistic interest started.

My relationship with drawing portraits started before I registered in the academy.

This period created in me a great interest in drawing portraits, drawing people’s faces, the people who have gone, faces of people whom I met and lived with.

When there were no faces in front of me, I used to search for faces in cinema name plates and then draw them. Life has cultivated my skill of searching for faces to draw the portraits.

We were more concerned about peace, tranquility, smiles, optimistic faces, and even sad faces, because you can create a certain aesthetic side. This is what I can say about the connection I have with faces.

Like many established artists, Mr. Al-Yasiry’s artistic talent is positively influenced by his early family life.

The first one, he’s my father, and he's my number one teacher. He taught me how to draw, how to like music, and how to like all people, even of different ages: kids or the elderly, it doesn't matter. I just like faces.

Where did you go to school to learn portraiting?

I applied to the Institute, I think in 1980. I was taking an evening class during junior high school. Then at that time I was awarded a grant, meaning that those who finished their studies successfully were able to continue in a college or an institute. Thanks to Allah, I was able to continue my education in 2 months. They decided on 2 months study instead of a whole year. I was able to succeed within 2 months. I registered in the Institute of Fine Arts in 1981 and graduated from there.

In the beginning, art wasn't essential for us; we were just amateurs. We loved art and were attached to it. I registered in the fine arts college and I decided to take up painting. At that time I had very little knowledge about painting, so it was an obligation to develop these basics, and every day I drew more than 50 sketches. I liked portrait drawing. But the idea of drawing a full painting captivated me; the drawing of full paintings, and not just drawing portraits or just a picture for a person.

After graduating from the Basra Institute of Fine Arts, Mr. Al-Yasiry had the opportunity to develop his cartoon drawing style.

In 1988, I graduated from the institute and worked for a period of time for some journals as a caricaturist. Caricature has created a long distance between me and painting, because the caricature has his own world. Now you can notice in most of my paintings that there is a sense of caricature in it, which is the result of the period I've lived after my graduation. So to have time for painting, I turned to caricature and journalism and worked in Al-Qadsia Press and in Sawt Al-Iraq Press as a painter. Those were the two press offices I worked for as a well-known painter. All this had happened after my graduation in 1988, and in the 90s.

We will continue our program on Iraqi-born portrait painter Haydar Al-Yasiry after these brief messages. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

Aesthetic viewers, welcome back to Enlightening Entertainment on Supreme Master Television as we continue our featured interview with famed Iraqi-born artist Mr. Haydar Al-Yasiry. Mr. Al-Yasiry talks about how painting provided him emotional sustenance during difficulty periods of time in his life.

In the most severe conditions, my lonely outlet was drawing portraits.

In 1990, I left Iraq and went to Saudi. Also in Saudi there were a lot of faces in front of me. After months of loneliness and expatriation, and being in the desert, I had no materials, so I used chalk from the earth. The earth contains some kind of rocky chalk, and there were some remnants from the charcoal that we burned to warm ourselves, like burned wood. So I started to draw the painting to comfort myself.

He speaks of his experience in meeting people from another culture, namely the Americans and how his painting brought them closer together.

During that period of time, Americans were present in Saudi Arabia; they gave me colors and paper on the condition that I would daily paint one of them. So I woke up at approximately 7 am, and they all came to have me draw portraits for them. My relationship with the portraits and those people became greater. What attracted their attention was my persistence in drawing under any circumstances.

Eventually, Mr. Al-Yasiry settled in the United States, where he continues his artistic career and utilizes his talents to serve the fellow citizens of his two homelands and the world at large.

My first day in the United States was at the end of 1992 and the beginning of 1993. This country gave me the chance to meditate on my work. It gave me safety and stability. My dream came true here. I felt proud to serve this country with everything I had, with my paintbrush and color, opinions and culture. So I worked with some Iraqi-American companies as a cultural advisor to clarify for them the traditions and customs of the Iraqi citizens.

As for me, I have loyalty and love for this country, and I wish that I will someday become a citizen of whom America feels proud and says, “This is a citizen who came from Iraq. He was able to become a part of this country by his art and culture.” I also would like to start moving from here to the Arab world or to Europe to present a message of what I've believed in, mentally or emotionally, and what I feel here as an American in safety, equality, and freedom. In brief, my dream came true here in this country.

In the final part of our interview, Mr. Al-Yasiry expresses his aspiration for artistic achievement and deep faith in Allah’s arrangement.

I do my best to achieve the goal that I designed, even if the achievement is slow, in Allah I trust, in the people who exist here, and in my art. I trust that someday I will achieve my goal, if it's Allah's will. I met many great people here who created something from nothing, so it is possible that I will be one of those people. I hope so.

Our sincere appreciation, Mr. Haydar Al-Yasiry, for sharing your varied life experiences and steadfast trust in Allah’s will. May your noble intentions to beautify the world through your art be blessed with great success.

Wonderful viewers, thank you for joining us today on Enlightening Entertainment featuring Iraqi-born artist Mr. Haydar Al-Yasiry. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television. Up next is Words of Wisdom, after Noteworthy News. May our world be illuminated by divine light.

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