Turning piles of garbage scattered on Baghdad’s streets into artwork has become a mission for a young man named Aqeel Kharif.
“This kind of art is not new; many well renowned artists in the world have been famous for this kind of art,” Kharif said. “Rohenberg and Jasper Johns,” are some of the artists he named.
Iraq’s Ministry of Environment has recognized Kharif’s creative work by sponsoring his first exhibition two years ago, and has also promised to hand him an employment post in the ministry.
Still waiting for an employment opportunity to be given to him from any government institution, and despite his family calling him condescendingly “the garbage man,” he continues to pursue his “letter to society or should I say ‘litter’,” said Suzane Sami, the ministry’s head of air and noise supervision’s section.
He is currently working for a project sponsored by the ministry to build a monument made of garbage to decorate one of Baghdad’s squares.
Iraqis who, have long-protested against the lack of proper services, also suffer from garbage-polluted streets. Like electricity outages, the garbage problem has increased political pressure on the government to provide better services.