Rahbar Jalal Mamash
Rahbar Jalal Hamad Rasul of the Mamash family, "the herald of the Kurdish culture",
was born in Koy Senjek, South Kurdistan year 1953. He had studied miniature painting in
Fine Arts school in Bagdad, and continued his arts studies in Likovni Ometnosti Skopje
school in Jugoslavia and Surikov's Art Institute in Soviet Union. At 1980's Rehber moved
to Finland where his wife still lives with their three children.
Rahbar has held both his own arts exhibitions and exhibitions with other
artists in Hawler's Art Gallery (Kurdistan), Dixon Gallery in London, in Tbilisi (Georgia)
and Helsinki (Finland).
Rahbar Jalal was very interested in the relations between arts and
politics. Though the Kurdish activity is highly related to the political parties, Rahbar
worked outside of these. But passing the boundaries is possible to an artist - even his
obligation and duty.
When Turkey attacked the South Kurdistan 1992, Rahbar Jalal hunger striked
16 days for peace of Kurdistan. He assisted Red Halfmoon of Kurdistan by collecting money
for the Kurdish children in Turkey. After the Gulf War Rahbar Jalal founded with his
friends "Save the Kurdistan's Children" help organization, which now e.g. runs
an orphanage in Sulaymaniya. He has also founded The National Peace and Solidarity
Association of Kurdistan, which convenes artists and intellectuals from different
countries to consider and discuss the initiatives of unity.
According to Rahbar's own words the political situation of Kurdistan
forces him to paint. His works are his memories of the time he spent in Kurdistan. He
pictures the history of Kurdistan and the life of the Kurds under the everyday threats of
war. The paintings mirror Rahbar's own fiery and strong personality and his deep sorrow.
Rehber Rasul Jalal passed away in the Helsinki Central Hospital 6.4.1998
surrounded by his family members and friends. Only his parents were absent because Finland
refused to grant them visa for visiting their dying son.
Our faces are still hidden in the foams.
Our faces are still hidden in the wondering and being born.
Are you leaving us alone on this clayey island?
On the land, that is filled with ruins.
Orbit - are you leaving us alone?
After you - where can we bear our homeland?
Tell us - under which block of clouds we can rest?
Still Kurdistan is rocking in the cradle of pain.
The dust and the screams sticked in throat.
Still Kurdistan, like lost for the madness of falling in love,
is searching its orbit.
Rehber Jalal in the begin of his last journey
in Honkanummi chapel in Helsinki 9.5.1998
form of condolences
The original text, "Rauhaton rauhantaistelija"
("Restless peacefighter"), was published in "Periferia" 1/98. This
article, the last interview ever made with Rahbar Jalal, was written by Sami
Tynkkynen. Translation of "Zone / Orbit" from Kurdish to Finnish by Rahbar Jalal and
Elina Saari. Photos by Sami Tynkkynen and Elina Saari.
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