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Rahbar Jalal Mamash
in memoriam

Rahbar playing guitarr for his dotter

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.

The best known painting of Rahbar Jalal

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.

Rafik Sabir


Rehber Jalal's coffin covered with Kurdish flag
Rehber Jalal in the begin of his last journey
in Honkanummi chapel in Helsinki 9.5.1998


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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.

Free translation and page design by  webmaster