Rhiannon’s Flight

Rhiannon Mabinogi had always known she was beautiful. It had turned into a running joke in her family: their spaceship lacked a figurehead, and if Rhiannon was ever too sassy, some person or other would threaten to make her their figurehead. Not that she was ever worried – with her quick wits and tongue, there was little she could not get herself out of.

Image result for spaceship
Spaceship. Link.

Except her impending marriage to that baseless cur Gwawl.

Okay, so maybe he wasn’t really a baseless cur. Probably she had just been reading too many stories of her ancestral homeland. But she did not like him, and she certainly did not love him. At every port he called at he took the best of the planet’s resources without heed to the needs of its inhabitants. All he wanted to do was monopolize the space economy. And once he had blockaded the Mabinogi home port, there was nothing her father could offer but Rhiannon herself. Maybe baseless cur wasn’t too far from the mark, she thought as she adjusted her veil.

Now the Mabinogi were a proud bunch. As her father walked her down the aisle, he whispered in her ear, “Humiliate him, Rhiannon. Humiliate him.”

This she was already prepared to do. She activated the portal-maker hidden on the dress, and left Gwawl screaming at the altar. She went first to collect her pod and cloaking device, then took off through time to the land of her dreams, the ancient homeland of the Mabinogi, where the man who had enchanted her across the pages dwelt.

She calculated her course to arrive at the mounds of mystery, which the people of Dyfed believed led to another world. It was easy for her to cloak her pod so that it resembled a horse. She kept it at a speed just faster than whatever the speed of her pursuers was, until the king himself, Pwyll of Dyfed, came riding after her. He called out to her to stop, and she slowed.

“Of course I will stop. It would have been easier on your horse if you had asked me earlier.”

Image result for rhiannon
Rhiannon. Link. 

“Where have you come from lady? And what are you here for?” His eyes shown with wonder and admiration.

“From a land far away, a land of mystery.”

“You are indeed most powerful, my lady. What brings you to my humble land?”

“You, my king. I flee one I do not love to find the one I do, that I might marry him.”

There was no doubting King Pwyll’s response as he gazed at her. Gwawl would certainly come after her, but she would be ready for him.

Bibliography: Lady Charlotte Guest’s The Mabinogionlink.

Author’s Note: In the original story, Rhiannon comes from the Otherworld through a magical mound. She rides on a horse that is always just ahead of her pursuers, until Pwyll, the king, calls out to her. She is fleeing from an unwanted suitor and is in love with Pwyll. I liked her sassiness and wanted to give more of an explanation of her background. I replaced magic with sci-fi tech.

The Shrewmouse in the Land of the Dead

This story was originally written for my Mythology and Folklore class. 

The shrewmouse, Casrarer, had known, from its very first day on Earth, that he was made by Raven to bring cheer to the world. His lot was to rummage around in the grass, looking for worms and receiving praise for its fuzzy cuteness and little pointy nose. Casrarer thought that he had a lot to look forward to. He ignored the rest of Raven’s conversation with man, thinking it would be of little relevance to him.

Image result for alaska shrew
Shrew. Web Source: Mammal’s Planet.

Unfortunately, the world soon became in need of more cheer than he could supply. The animals he lived among began to disappear at an alarming rate, and man began to fill the tundra. Casrarer scurried over to Paugnar, the bear, to ask him what was going on. “Why are my friends disappearing Paugnar?”

“The humans are killing them for meat,” said Paugnar sadly.

“Oh no!” Casrarer squeaked. “Are we in danger?” His hairless tail quivered in fear.

“Not us,” Paugnar replied. “You are too small and cute, and I am too fierce.”

“But Paugnar, what happens to our friends once they are killed?”

“There is a land of the dead, inhabited by shades. Humans and animals alike will go there. Raven told me that humans will be judged for their treatment of us.”

Casrarer was glad to hear that. He decided that he wanted to see the land of the dead. Perhaps he would meet the shades of his friends.

That night, as he was dreaming, he thought that he had awoken in a new place. He found himself in a village that seemed to have no end, even for a creature larger than a shrew. He wandered around, looking for his friends, and saw some strange sights. In one house, women were beating other people with a large stick. He overheard someone say that these were the shades of dogs, who got their revenge on humans who had beaten them on earth. He supposed that man who had grass growing through his body so that he could not move had pulled up grass while alive.

Soon after, Casrarer did wake up. He was back in the land of the living, feeling relieved that there was a solution to Earth’s problems after death. In the meantime, he would just do his best to bring cheer in the midst of the suffering. He scurried happily away.

Bibliography: Katharine Berry Judson’s Myths and Legends of Alaskalink.

Author’s Note: I combined two stories to create this one. In the creation story, Raven creates the shrewmouse to bring cheer to the earth and the bear so that not all of his creation will be killed by humans. In the land of the dead story, a girl who dies explores the land of the shades. She sees the sights and judgements that Casrarer (which means shrew in Yupik Eskimo and is pronounced Chahs-rah-rayr) sees in his dream. In another story about the land of the dead, someone visits it in a dream, which is how I got the idea for Casrarer to visit it in his dream.

The Ustu’tli at the Museum

This story was written for my Mythology and Folklore blog

The Fernbank Museum’s new exhibit was drawing huge crowds, to the delight of their marketing manager. Who could resist the giant, nearly complete skeleton of a dinosaur that resembled nothing more closely than an enormous snake with legs?  Particuarly one that had been discovered in their same state, up in the mountains of North Georgia. Hunter, a 10 year old boy who lived nearby, certainly could not. He loved anything to do with skeletons and dinosaurs, and had been begging his mother for months to visit the exhibit.

Unfortunately, the same day that Hunter was planning to go to the museum, there was a solar eclipse. His mother told him to stay inside, as looking at the sun could blind him. The museum was not even going to be open to the public that day, so there was no point in going.

Hunter was heartbroken. His dream was so close, yet so far. He decided to sneak out of his house and keep his eyes fixed on the ground. He knew the way quite well, and the roads were eerily empty.

As he walked across Atlanta, he heard a very strange sound. It sounded like a deep, far-off ribbit. He cautiously looked around, but saw nothing. The day was growing darker and darker, until there was no light. He looked up and stood frozen in shock. The sun was not covered by the moon, but by a giant frog.

Image result for frog swallowing the sun
Frog swallowing the sun. Web Source: Fox23.

Hunter decided that presumably the museum would know how to deal with a giant, sun-swallowing frog, so he ran as fast as he could without tripping over branches and pine-cones. He arrived breathless, and slipped inside an open door. The museum exhibits were dark, and no security guards blocked him from the dinosaurs.

Somewhere in the museum, a small animal bleated.

The next thing Hunter knew, a thick, scaly body was moving past him. He ducked out of the way of a leg as it arched over him. Despite his terror, he suddenly realized what an amazing opportunity this was. An ancient, supposedly extinct animal had come to life before his eyes.

By this time, the museum employees had become aware of the chaos in the exhibit hall. “It’s an Ustu’tli!” screamed someone from the anthropology department. “It hates fire!” Another employee was frantically calling the police and the fire department.

Hunter ran around, chasing the ustu’tli. He knocked over a candle that had been lit in one of the offices, and fire began spreading around the building. The ustu’tli roared in pain as its scales began crackling in the heat. By the time the police got there, they were able to corner and shoot it.

Suddenly, the sky grew bright again. All the noise from the chasing and shooting of the ustu’tli had scared the frog away from the sun. Hunter slipped back home quite satisfied with his experience of the eclipse and the ustu’tli.


Author’s note: I based this story on two different Cherokee stories. One says that eclipses are caused by a frog that swallows the sun, which is chased off when scared by guns and drums. The other involves the ustu’tli, a large snake with legs which bleated like a young fawn to scare off hunters. One hunter dared to enter its territory and defeated it with fire. The mountain it lived on in the story is actually found in North Georgia, so I decided to set it at the Fernbank museum which is found in Atlanta.

Bibliography: James Mooney’s Myths of the CherokeeLink.

Tsunggita’s Revenge

Reposted from my blog for my Mythology and Folklore class. 

Long before Tsunggita met Don Juan, she knew that she was a part of her father’s plan to defeat the king of Laguna and his three haughty sons. How could she not be, with her fantastic ability to shift into any form she chose? One day, her father called her up into his favorite tree for a strategy talk.

“Tsunggita, my dear, the king of Laguna has sent his three sons off to take their fortunes, and one of them is headed our way. I have a plan, but it involves you marrying one of his sons. I fear they will treat you badly, and the need is not yet dire enough that we could not find another plan.”

Image result for long tailed macaque
Monkey. Web Source: MacleanGray.

But Tsunggita, being rather idealistic and having heard many stories from the birds of fabulous princes in far off lands, thought that the ones near by should be even nicer, just as her own kingdom was nicer than the ones in the stories. “Of course I will marry him, and that way if he is nicer than his father there will be no need to defeat Laguna.”

The first step in the plan was for Tsunggita to turn into an old man and entice Don Juan to her father’s palace with promises of good fortune if he offered bread to the monkeys at the gate. This was the first test, to ensure that he would not turn immediately violent at the sight of monkeys. Then her father set up the marriage, and Tsunggita went back with him to join his other brothers, Don Pedro and Don Diego, and their beautiful human wives. Tsunggita was rather disappointed from the beginning, as Don Juan seemed quite ashamed of her and appeared to wish that he had a wife like his brothers’. At first, the king seemed to be taking her appearance in stride, but then the tests began.

Embroider a coat. Embroider a cap. Draw a picture. All things that required one of the humans’ best gifts: an opposable thumb. Not to mention, it would have been useful to have grown up where coats and caps were worn. Tsunggita had already considered shapeshifting into a human to win her husband’s heart, but her stubborness kept her clinging to her monkey identity. Now her life was on the line: if she could not complete these tasks to the king’s satisfaction, she would be put to death.

Help came from an unexpected source. Her husband was immensely eager that she should win, not for the sake of her life, but so that he would be awarded the throne. He brought her all the finest cloths, threads, and paints. He even brought maids to perform the tasks for her, but she turned them away. “I will do it myself,” she said. Show them that a monkey can do anything they can.

Except she could not avoid the need for thumbs that would hold a needle or a brush. So at night she turned her hands into human hands and completed the tasks. She won them all, and her husband was crowned king.

But his joy at attaining the throne did not diminish Don Juan’s hatred of Tsunggita, and during the very ball that celebrated his victory he threw her brutally against the wall. In terror, she turned herself into a beautiful human woman. Don Juan was delighted: at last he had a wife who he could show off as a prize.

Her father heard the story and was absolutely furious. Against the wishes of his advisors, he refused to follow the original plan, to wait for Tsunggita’s son to take the throne and rule as a monkey king. He marched up to the palace in the capital of Laguna and accused Don Juan of using black magic to turn his daughter into a human. Since he came without an army, he was easily captured by Don Juan, who planned to kill him. But the people of Laguna were touched by the story of the father coming to rescue his daughter single-handedly from a cruel husband, so they marched to the palace and demanded his release. Don Juan was as lazy a king as he was fortune-seeker, so to avoid further problems he released the king. Tsunggita turned back into her original form and won over the hearts of her people. After Don Juan’s death, she became queen and joined the human and monkey kingdoms.

Bibliography: Dean S. Fansler’s Filipino Popular Tales, link.

Author’s Note: In the original story, Tsunggita (Chonguita) is not a shapeshifter, and there is no mention of how she became a human. Also, no plan to take over the human kingdom is mentioned, and the story ends after she becomes a human. I wanted her to retain her monkey-ness, as well as to explain why she married Don Juan and how she became a human. I changed her name from Chonguita to Tsunggita to reflect more of the original Tagalog. Tsunggo means monkey, and the -ita suffix is a common borrowing from Spanish.


Gilman Scholarship

Receiving the Gilman scholarship covered a lot of my expenses for my summer study abroad in Morocco. I would definitely recommend applying for it, especially if you have financial need or are studying a critical language. Since there is no Gilman representative at OU, here is my experience of applying for the scholarship.

First of all, there are two different application deadlines. I chose to apply for the earlier deadline, even though this meant I did not have all the details for my program and not even been accepted into it yet. While I was accepted, I was told by others that there is some room for accomodation if you end up changing from your original plan. The benefit of applying for the early deadline is that you receive notice of the award much earlier. If you are dependent on financial aid for studying abroad, as I was, this can be crucial in planning. You can see the full list of deadlines here.

The application is fairly straightforward. It includes information about yourself and the program, an essay, and a follow-on service project proposal. One potentially confusing detail is that the information about the program and the application itself are found on two different sites. Also remember to save your password somewhere – you will still need it when you return.

As you are applying, remember to leave yourself time to contact a number of people. There is only one financial advisor at OU, but you will need to contact the study abroad office to figure out who your advisor is, if your regular study abroad advisor is not also a Gilman advisor. You may need more information than you have about the program itself. The service project will also require you to contact people on campus to make sure that your proposal is feasible.

Speaking of the service project, try to maintain a balance between what will be sufficient effort but also what will be feasible upon your return. Keep in mind your class schedule and any jobs that you have that might affect your ability to complete it. Think of groups you will be engaged with and how they mind benefit from awareness about the Gilman scholarship.

Assuming that many of my readers are Global Engagement Fellows, the Gilman Scholarship would be an excellent option for many you. The Spring 2018 and Summer 2018 applications are currently open, and I encourage you all to apply.

img_%d9%a2%d9%a0%d9%a1%d9%a7%d9%a0%d9%a6%d9%a1%d9%a6_%d9%a1%d9%a6%d9%a1%d9%a5%d9%a0%d9%a2%d9%a5%d9%a1%d9%a9 img_%d9%a2%d9%a0%d9%a1%d9%a7%d9%a0%d9%a6%d9%a1%d9%a6_%d9%a1%d9%a6%d9%a1%d9%a5%d9%a0%d9%a7%d9%a5%d9%a5%d9%a3

Boomer Sooner at Baab Mansour in Meknes

The Judgement of Malchus

Image result for the beheading of saint margaret

The Beheading of Saint Margaret. Web Source: The National Gallery.

Reposted from my blog for my Mythology and Folklore class. 

“Malchus of Antioch, do you know why you have been called before this court today?”

“Yes your lordship. I am guilty of the death of one Margaret of Antioch, a brave and noble woman of Christ.”

The provost frowned. “Far from it, for her death was upon my order.”

“Then you are guilty as well, your lordship.”

“And that is why I have summoned you all here today,” said a loud voice from the back of the room.

Looking around, Malchus noticed that he and Olybrius, the provost, had been joined not by Olybrius’ soldiers but by a dragon, an unsettling young man, and two other figures, both very bright. He thought it was one of the latter two that had spoken, but he was not sure which one.

“Tell us what you have done to the woman who was called Margaret,” said one of the bright ones.

The dragon growled at the mention of her name. “I fully intended to eat her, but she made the sign of the cross and I was forced to back down.”

“And you, Veltis?”

The strange young man shifted uncomfortably. “I am ashamed to admit that she bested me as well.” He rubbed his neck. “I couldn’t stop myself – every question she asked I answered. In the end, she made the ground open up and swallow me.

“Olybrius, son of Adam, what was your relationship with this woman?”

The provost looked annoyed. “She was the most beautiful girl I had seen in a long time. I intended to marry her, but she had betrayed our gods for a crucified one, which was most unseemly. I had her tortured multiple times, but she refused to return to our beliefs. At last I commanded my hangman to kill her, and this time there was no miraculous rescue.”

“And you Malchus, son of Adam – are you the hangman of whom Olybrius spoke?”

“To my everlasting shame, sir.” Malchus looked at his hands. “She asked for a bit of time to pray, and I gave it to her. But really it was for myself sir – I needed the time to gather up my courage. How could I kill this woman who had bested a dragon and come out alive from boiling water? But then, I’d seen the provost kill the 5000 men who converted because of her. So I wasn’t sure. But after hearing her pray, pray for forgiveness for all of us – for me – who had tortured her and were going to kill her – I couldn’t do it. And that voice – the voice from heaven – it said it granted her prayers, sir.” His voice was trembling.

“And yet the woman is dead,” said the other bright one.

“Yes sir. She told me that I might have no share with her if I did not cut off her head. So I did.” Malchus covered his face, and his shoulders shook.

“I see.”

The first bright one seemed to have made his judgement. “You all have done well in persecuting this woman. Not as well as I might have hoped, since she bested you, but that is to be expected when dealing the Enemy. You will certainly be rewarded by Our Father Below.”

“Wait just a moment,” said the second. “I believe Malchus belongs to me.”

Malchus began to be rather terrified, as the second seemed far more likely to judge him.

“Not at all. Did he not kill one of your people’s so-called saints? What more does it take to come Below?”

“He killed her, yes, but she requested that he be forgiven before her death. He has repented and believes, and that is all it takes to come Above. You have the other three, let me take this one.”

“Oh alright, have it your way. I’ve got three times as many as you.” He led the dragon, Veltis, and Olybrius away, leaving Malchus alone with the second.

“Malchus, you shall experience all the torture on earth that you have dealt this woman. But you shall one day see her again in paradise.”

Malchus knelt in gratitude.

“Do not kneel to me, but look ever heavenwards.”

When Malchus looked up, the figure had disappeared.


Author’s note: This story is based on the story of St. Margaret, from The Golden Legends. She was raised by her nursemaid, who converted her to Christianity. The provost wanted to marry her, but wanted her to renounce Christianity first. When she refused, he had her imprisoned, tortured, and eventually killed. During her imprisonment, she defeated the demon Veltis. I wanted to explore the story from the perspective of the other characters, particularly the hangman who beheaded her against his own wishes. In this story, the characters responsible for her death are judged by a demon and an angel. The demon’s language is partially based on that of The Screwtape Letters.

Bibliography: “Saint Margaret,” Voragine’s The Golden Legend, link to the reading online.

The Jackal’s Test

Reposted from my blog for my Mythology and Folklore class. 

Hello reader.

I’m three thousand years in your future. You won’t live that long of course, so here’s a glimpse of what your people have done to my world. You’ve burned it and hunted it and poisoned it. But you and your experiments also gave us minds.

Explore The Black Azar's photos on Flickr. The Black Azar has uploaded 12247 photos to Flickr.

Dystopia. Web Source: Flickr.

Yes, every one of us. From myself – Jackal, at your service – and the other animals to the surviving trees, all of us can think and feel and speak. Even the road beneath your feet. Well, my feet. You’re probably sitting in a chair in comfort.

Image result for caged tiger

Caged Tiger. Web Source: Pixabay.

Despite all these changes, your people are still in charge. Somehow. I’m hoping to change that. Afterall, are you really fit to lead? Take this fellow Brahman. We – Tiger and I – were trying to see how people responded to Tiger’s plea for freedom. This guy actually let him out of the cage, which was a start. But we wanted to give him more of a feel for our plight than that of one noble beast in a cage. It’s easy to have pity on a magnificent tiger. But what about the rest of creation that suffers on his behalf? So Tiger made him go talk to three of us. He thought he had to convince them that he should live. But really we wanted to see if he could convince himself.

He heard from the trees that died for his books and newspapers. He spoke to the cow that was force fed only to be slaughtered for his meat. He spoke to the road that choked under the pollution from his car.

Yet after all these conversations, his only thought was for how he might survive. So I pretended to help him by leading Tiger back into his cage. It would not do for him to suspect our fomenting revolution.

You see, now we need another plan. You humans cannot be convinced to sympathize with us, so we must find another route to liberty. Tiger is still in his cage, and next time I will be the one to let him out. Cleverness and violence will win our earth back. As you might suspect from this glimpse into the future, I will take the reins as we rise.

File:Indian Golden Jackal.jpg

Jackal. Web Source: WikiMedia.

Author’s note:

This story is based on “The Tiger, the Brahman, and the Jackal.” In the original story, the tiger tricks the Brahman into letting him out, then threatens to eat him unless one of the first three people that the Brahman comes across can provide a convincing reason as to why he should not be eaten. The papal-tree, the buffalo, and the road see this trickery as the natural course of life, but the jackal pretends to be confused and forces a retelling of the story, until the tiger is back into his cage. In my retelling, I wanted to examine the jackal’s motivation for helping the Brahman and apparently opposing the tiger. I set the story in the future so that the personification of the animals, the tree, and the road would be more plausible.

Bibliography: “The Tiger, the Brahman, and the Jackal” from Indian Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs with illustrations by John D. Batten (1912). Web Source.

Meknesi Explorations

While I am definitely still getting settled into Meknes, I have had the chance to explore some with my class and on my own. Listing the places I can get to without getting lost gives a pretty good introduction to my time here.

Classes! The route from my apartment to the AALIM center and back is definitely the first one I learned. It crosses between the old, walled city, the medina, to the new city. The particular area I live in is called Hamria. There’s a large park in between I hope to explore at some point. The teachers are fabulous – they push us to learn but are friendly and encouraging while doing so. Hopefully I will be able to fully absorb all the Arabic being stuffed into my brain. Just a little ways up from the center through the winding streets of the medina is an excellent place to buy fruit. I got amazing peaches, plums, and apples there. Unfortunately it was closed for Eid, so I resorted to a giant bag of dates, which were nice and sweet.

View from the School Roof

The apartment I’m staying in is perfectly located about a two minutes’ walk from the only church in Meknes. How cool is that? The Protestant (Église Évangelique au Maroc) church meets in the Catholic church Notre Dame des Oliviers. The congregation is primarily made of immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa, plus a couple of American students from two different Arabic programs, and the service is in French. Everyone has been so extremely welcoming there.

I am also only a few minutes’ walk from a bookstore, which makes me quite happy. I went once with my language partner and just browsed around. When I went back to pick a book to buy, it was closed for Eid, but I hope to go back soon so I can find a book to slowly stumble my way through.

Probably the most recognizable spot in Meknes is the Bab Mansour gate. Between the gate and the souq is a square, which was quite busy at night during Ramadan. There were booths set up where children would go, get dressed up in wedding attire, and get their pictures taken. Honestly that sounds much more appealing than sitting in Santa’s lap for Christmas pictures. One of the buildings off the square is the Dar Jamaii museum, a palatial home built by a vizier in the 1800s that showcases Moroccan and specifically Meknesi craftsmanship. There is a lot of carved and painted wood on the doors and ceilings, as well as tile and woven and embroidered fabrics.

Tile Detail on Bab Mansour

The Souq At Night During Ramadan

Inside Dar Jamaii

Whenever I move to or travel to a new place, I tend to start collecting places I feel comfortable in. I look forward to seeing how my experience in Morocco continues to expand.

Me at Dar Jamaii


I Am Baghdad III

Reposted from OnlineAhwa.


I am Baghdad III, 2008, acrylic, charcoal and marker pen on Arabic newspaper on canvas, 48″ x 48″- 122 cm x 122 cm

The portrait above gazes out at its audience, grabs its attention and commands it to listen. I Am Baghdad III is one of a series of paintings by Iraqi artist Ayad Alkadhi in which he narrates individual Iraqi responses to the post-occupation Iraq. He has taken a single Iraqi face, his own, and overlaid it with visual elements that recount his interviews with Iraqi citizens.

Ayad Alkadhi has purposefully left the interpretation of the portrait’s story up to the viewer (Griffith). One possible interpretation is shaped by the colors that he has chosen and color symbolism. Black and white, the primary colors used in the portrait, are significant in many cultures. In Arabic, black is associated with death, hell, and past wars (Hasan 208). White, on the other hand, has generally positive meanings, with “white-hearted” conveying innocence and the “white dove” and “white revolution” being peaceful (Al-Aladeih 8). Based on these colors and their connotations, the individual in this image mourns the death of war and desires peace and innocence in the future. This interpretation is supported by Ayad Alkadhi’s own statements that his main purpose is to communicate emotion (Shangri La).

I Am Baghdad III was painted in 2008, following years of violence in Iraq, and the events surrounding its creation play a key role. The painting is literally against a backdrop of current events, as represented by the Iraqi and Palestinian newspapers that connect the work to local and international contexts (Griffith). The international connections include the Palestinian newspapers and the football player in the corner, while the Iraqi newspapers likely report on the US invasion of Iraq as well as sectarian violence, bombings carried out against civilians and the breakdown in infrastructure such as clean water (BBC, Ditmars)

According the Alkadhi, “painted words give the notion of a story being told,” but these words are simply a collection of letters without literal meaning (Alkadhi). This gives the viewer the opportunity to interpret the story being told. The letters are large and bold yet translucent, suggesting transience or fragility. The movement and size gives them life. Combined with the covered mouth, the letters pull the viewer inside the consciousness of the portrait, highlighting the beauty and fragility of the inner life. The absence of any explicit message prevents the painting from being used as propaganda (Alkadhi).

In addition to its storytelling value, Arabic calligraphy is often used in modern art as a means of connecting with an older artistic tradition, and this is certainly true for Alkadhi (Al-Sadoun). He states that calligraphy is one of the “creative nuances” of Islamic culture, used in contemporary work as a “calling card” (Griffith).

As an Iraqi living in America, Alkadhi has often been asked about the Iraq War by Americans who want more information than the news provides (Alkadhi). Alkadhi connects this with the desire for emotional information, and painted the I Am Baghdad series to bridge this gap between his Iraqi friends and his American friends (Alkadhi). His combination of a face, symbolic colors, and current events emphasize the individual experience of war and suffering.




Al-Adaileh, Bilal A. “The Connotations of Arabic Color Terms.” Linguistica Online, Issue 13, 2012, http://www.phil.muni.cz/linguistica/art/al-adaileh/ada-001.pdf. Accessed 8 Apr. 2017.

Alkadhi, Ayad. “I Am Baghdad III.” 2008. http://aalkadhi.com/content/I_am_baghdad/baghdad_html/3.htm. Accessed 7 Apr. 2017.

Ditmars, Hadani. “Post Invasion Iraq – the facts.” New Internationalist Magazine, Issue 432, 2010, https://newint.org/features/2010/05/01/post-invasion-iraq-facts/. Accessed 8 Apr. 2017.

Griffith, Lesa. “Ayad Alkadhi on ‘I Am Baghdad XV.’” Honolulu Museum of Art, http://blog.honoluluacademy.org/ayad-alkadhi-on-i-am-baghdad-xv/. Accessed 7 Apr. 2017.

Hasan, Amna A. et al. “How Colours are Semantically Construed in the Arabic and English Culture: A Comparitive Study.” English Language Teaching, vol. 4, no. 3, 2011, http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1080712.pdf. Accessed 8 Apr. 2017.

“Iraq Profile – Timeline.” BBC News, 5 Dec. 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-14546763. Accessed 7 Apr. 2017.

“Ayad Alkadhi Talks About His Experiences as an Artist & Resident at Shangri La.” Shangri La: Center for Islamic Arts and Cultures, 11 Feb. 2013, http://blog.shangrilahawaii.org/wordpress/ayad-alkadhi-experiences-as-an-artist-and-resident-at-shangri-la/. Accessed 7 Apr. 2017.

“Quest to Belong by Ayad Alkadhi.” Vimeo, uploaded by Shangri La Hawaii, 2013, http://www.shangrilahawaii.org/Programs/Calendar-of-Events/Alkadhi-Lecture/.