I, Nuveen Barwari, am a second-generation immigrant from Kurdistan. What does this exactly mean you may ask, where is Kurdistan you may wonder, and how does this correspond to my art? In 1977, my parents immigrated to America from Kurdistan (northern Iraq) in attempt to flee the persecution and genocide of the Ba'ath regime dictated by Saddam Hussein. I was born and raised here in Nashville, but my childhood consisted of living in locations where I was neither this or that, I was both. My family and I moved back to Kurdistan at the age of 11. This was an age that was very critical. To be picked up and relocated to a place that you only knew of because your parents came from there was a shock itself. Later I discovered that that was the best move and decision my parents made for me. It was during that time that I realized that there is no reason to have a constant battle between two different cultures. I learned to embrace it through my art, and that is how my passion began.
My focus is on bridging the gap between the different generations of Kurds, and at the same time, to draw awareness to the Kurds and their struggle. In my art, you will see second generation Kurds wearing traditional Kurdish clothes, yet rocking Nikes at the same time. You’ll also see the use of a lot fabrics in this body of work. My fascination for fabrics all started when I was living in Kurdistan, while being exposed to huge selections of fabrics in the seek (bazaar). These fabrics were used to turn into beautiful Kurdish dresses. Most of the ones used in this show are from Kurdistan. I have also been experimenting with oriental rugs and manipulating them in a variety of ways. When I work with rugs, I get a sense of comfort. Some of my pieces refer to the relationship between the Americans and the Kurds. These pieces of art are the ones that I plan on using to interlink the two cultures, which are both a part of who I am.