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Australia: A refugee painter with a toothbrush, the finalist for the country's most prestigious art prize

Australia: A refugee painter with a toothbrush, the finalist for the country’s most prestigious art prize

A Kurdish refugee was nominated for Australia’s most prestigious art gift on Thursday for a self-portrait drawn by a toothbrush while in custody for eight years at the Center for Illegal Immigrants.

Mostaba Asimitabar, a fugitive Kurdish IranAfter learning that Archibald was the finalist for the Portrait Prize for Best Painter in Australia since 1921, he told AFP to live “one of the best moments of (his) life”.

He began painting with a toothbrush in 2014, when he was incarcerated at an “offshore” detention camp for illegal immigrants run by Australia on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

After being denied paint by his guards for fear that he would swallow it to his detriment, Mustafa Asimitibar returned to the shelter he shared with dozens of other refugees, and his eyes widened. A cup of coffee and stopped brushing teeth.

“Art and painting helped me stay strong”

“I do not know what happened … it was a special moment. I grabbed the toothbrush, dipped it in coffee, and ran it over the paper, describing the moment as a “win”.

He named his self-portrait ‘KNS088’, his service number during his eight years in prison, and wanted to capture his work ‘Suffering, Tragedy and Strength’. Refugee life. “Art and painting helped me stay strong, because I did not feel any shock when I painted,” he explains.

Mustafa Asimitabar was finally released on January 21, 2021 without notice or explanation. Since then, he has sought to rebuild his career in Australia, working for a charity. If he continues to paint, he thinks he is not inspired by Kurdish traditional tools. “This toothbrush is a very good friend of mine,” he says.

The winner of the Archibald Prize of A $ 100,000 or ,000 68,000 will be announced on May 13, 2022.

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