We had the good fortune of connecting with Fadhel Dabbagh and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Fadhel, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for your children?
I had to make the difficult choice of leaving my home or staying when Iraq was bombed back in 2003. My decision to relocate my family to Jordan turned out to be one of the single most impactful things I’ve ever done for my family. I was able to find work in a multimedia and theme park design company, where I was able to utilize my art training. The art community in Jordan embraced my fine arts, so I was able to provide for my family. It was the beginning of the journey that led me here to this country where I am now. After going through some very stressful moments with immigration, I am grateful to be able to make a home in Los Angeles for my family. Belief in God, being creative, persistence in following your own path is the way to success.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am an abstract artist, and the inspiration for my work comes from many sources, but I am most inspired by the wonders of nature where I find beauty in all that it exposes to me. I am particularly proud of my series of paintings about immigrants. The immigrant is a word that describes us all in one way or another. We all came from somewhere, whether recently or in our distant past. It is what makes us different, but most importantly, it is what makes us the same. Our past is what has shaped us, our future has yet to be written. For our physical roots to thrive, our spiritual roots must be honored. When they are disconnected, we are lost. It takes time for an artist to find their voice but it is not easy because it requires being honest with yourself. My success, I believe, comes from my willingness to open up and let the vision flow through me and trust that it will take me where I need to be. We are joint custodians of the ground upon which we live, and the will to survive is the thread that binds us. Sometimes we are transplanted, some of us by choice, others by the violence of war and like plants, which is a common metaphor in my work, some of us survive and thrive in our new soil, and others wither and die. I come from a country torn apart by war. I had to leave my home with my family and have twice found myself a stranger in another land. I am an immigrant, and I have survived where many haven’t, including my father. My art is revealed through dreams, my subconscious, and my heart. My art tells my story.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My family and I became connected to a lot of beautiful places here in California. And I know my best friend would enjoy visiting them as much as I do; The Getty Museum, (LACMA) Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art, Huntington Garden & Library, Disneyland, Paradise cove in Malibu Beach, and El Cajon Pier in San Diego. I would also introduce them to some of the great friends I have made here in Los Angeles.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Since my beginnings, my family/parents are supportive of my choice to pursue being an artist, but when it comes to step by step support, my wife deserves all the credit. I consider her opinion on any of my artwork because she is always honest with me, and through her eyes, she provides insight as to how others may see my artwork and what would impact it would have on them. Gustav Klimt and Pablo Picasso, among others, always inspired me to improve my art techniques and my professors, who taught me as I was just starting out back in the Fine Art Institute and University in Iraq.
Other: https://www.artstation.com/fathel_jasim https://fadheldabbagh.wixsite.com/fadhel-concept-art