About Me

Artist Biography

Peace be with you!  My name is Thaer. I am an artist and human rights activist and also a Palestinian born in Baghdad, Iraq.  Palestinians are an ethnic minority in Iraq.  We have lived there for more than sixty years, but have neither citizenship nor freedom. Since 2003, we have been targeted by various militias and have suffered kidnapping, torture, imprisonment and assassination.

I myself am a torture survivor. In 2005, I helped lead a number of threatened Palestinian families out of Iraq and lived with them in a refugee camp in Syria. I created many paintings in the camp, painting on black velvet because canvas was not available. However, in 2007, because of my work on behalf of refugees and my relationship with an American peace activist (who is now my wife), Syrian secret police imprisoned and tortured me and deported me back to Iraq. I fled again, and finally arrived in the U.S. to begin a new life in April 2008.

I have loved to paint and draw since I was a child, when I discovered that art was a world so much larger than the one room which I shared with my parents and twelve siblings. I drew on everything – the walls, the door – to my mother’s chagrin!

Today, I use art to express the pain and also the strength of my community in Baghdad and of those scattered as refugees in many corners of the world. I also paint scenes of nature and people interacting with nature, especially those people who live on the margins of society,  Since arriving in Boston I have studied painting at the Eliot School of Fine and Applied Arts and the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. My work has been shown locally at the Out of the Blue Gallery, the Harvard University Lutheran Church gallery, Northeastern University, UMass Boston, the Paulist Center, the Middle East Restaurant, 1369 Coffeeshop, Perks Coffeeshop, and the Andala Restaurant.  I am blessed to have a studio on the premises of BD's, a discount store with locations in Dorcester, MA.  Thank you very much to the owner (also named Thaer)!

I hope you enjoy this website and the paintings displayed here.

Life does not stop, and it is still beautiful.




Fleeing Baghdad to Al Tanf Camp Syria 2005
A collection of photos from my journey fleeing Baghdad to Al Tanf Camp, Syria in 2005
Art studio in the refugee Camp 2006
Photos of my art studio in the refugee Camp in 2006
Al Hol Refugee Camp Syria 2006
Photos from Al Hol Refugee Camp, Syria in 2006
My Art Studio -- at BDs in Dorcester, MA
This is my art studio today. A generous friend named Thaer Tuffaha owns a discount store called BD's in Dorcester, MA. He gave me a space on the property to use as a studio. Thank you, Thaer! This is a big, big gift for me.