Assyrian artist Paul Batou reveals his favorite painting

Feb. 23

Revered Assyrian artist Paul Batou is known around the world for his unique paintings that capture the beauty and the sorrow that defines the Assyrian experience. The California-based Assyrian artist will be in Chicago next month for the opening night of his solo exhibition at the Studio Gallery at AUAF: Poems & Colors.

We spoke to Batou for a quick Q&A ahead of his new exhibition. 

AUAF: What inspires your work as an artist and a poet? 

Batou: Our world is full of excitement. I take inspiration from different events, human struggles, their moments of happiness, our diaspora and our culture. All of those inspire me to create art. As for my poems, the inspiration comes from people, our thoughts, and things I hear in all sorts of discussions. 


AUAF: What is your artistic process? 

Batou: All my paintings start with an idea. I usually have a plan for it. Lately, my goal is to create art pieces based on our culture and connect the present to the past, to Mesopotamia. The idea or planning process takes me longer than producing an art piece. 


AUAF: Do you have a personal favorite among your own works? 

Batou: "Journey with Ishtar" is my favorite painting. It's also the cover of my autobiography My Last Thoughts about Iraq. It's based on a long poem that I wrote. 

"Journey with Ishtar" by Paul Batou


AUAF: What can people expect from your upcoming gallery "Poems & Colors?"

Batou: All of the paintings in my upcoming show "Poems & Colors" were inspired by Marina Benjamin's poems. I read all of her poems and interviewed Marina to understand her thoughts, and then I created a plan to translate her poetry into colors. Viewers will experience the colors of Mesopotamia. I've painted our language, customs, struggle, broken artifacts, love—our search for beauty and freedom in unique colors for people to connect and enjoy. 

Join us at the AUAF on Friday, March 16, 2018 for the opening night of Paul Batou's Solo Exhibition "Poems & Colors." The evening will include a poetry reading and guitar performance. Admission is free.