Darlington car wash worker is accomplished Kurdish artist who fled Saddam's brutal regime

ARTIST EXTRAORDINAIRE: Mariwan Abdullah of Eldon Street, Darlington with a selection of his artwork. Picture: CHRIS BOOTH

ARTIST EXTRAORDINAIRE: Mariwan Abdullah of Eldon Street, Darlington with a selection of his artwork. Picture: CHRIS BOOTH

First published in News
Last updated

A DARLINGTON businessman can be revealed today as an accomplished Kurdish artist who fled Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime.

Fine artist and sculptor Mariwan Abdullah came to the UK to avoid persecution after his illustrations for a political newspaper attracted the ire of government forces.

Speaking about his past, he said: “I fled because I was an artist and then, if you were not with the government, there was a problem and I wasn’t – I was the opposite.

“At the time, it was very bad for people with all of the fighting and it was very difficult for my friends and family.

“My art is inspired by it – I do it for the people and it’s about hope, making a nice life and allowing other people to have a nice life.”

Mr Abdullah, 32, now runs the Longfield Road Car Wash in Darlington and hopes to establish himself as an artist in the town where he settled three years ago.

However, he says cramped living arrangements and a lack of creative spaces in Darlington have left him without a suitable place to work and struggling to get a footing in the North-East art world.

He is now urging the town’s council and residents to get behind its creative community and do more to support the arts.

He said: “I’ve exhibited my work all over the world but not in Darlington. I was on the waiting list for the Arts Centre but now that’s closed and I have no place to put my work and no space to do it.

“It would be great to have a big community art gallery in the town centre because art is for everyone and the town needs to do more to bring the arts to everybody.

“I’d like to share my work, meet some like-minded artists and find somewhere that I could do my work for a couple of hours a day.”

Mr Abdullah works with a variety of mediums, creating striking and colourful pieces with recycled material including soap, wax, wood and metal.

Anyone who would like to contact him about his artwork or who could offer him a space to work in for around five to ten hours a week can email sculpture78@gmail.com

Comments (10)

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8:52am Fri 1 Aug 14

BMD says...

Since Saddam has been deposed, there is no reason he cant return home, unless washing cars is now classed as a skilled trade.
Since Saddam has been deposed, there is no reason he cant return home, unless washing cars is now classed as a skilled trade. BMD
  • Score: -66

9:12am Fri 1 Aug 14

darlingtondl3 says...

Well first of all, I don't see any English young men washing cars, was speaking to a guy who ran the car wash and he said he can't get any young lads to come and work, they don't like it if it's cold and wet, these Kurds are hard workers. Secondly, yes Saddam has gone but that doesn't mean there is no persecution, this guy may have left everything behind and so would have nothing to go back to, no home, job, there is no benefits over there to help him back on his feet. He has made a settled life here and is working, leave him be
Well first of all, I don't see any English young men washing cars, was speaking to a guy who ran the car wash and he said he can't get any young lads to come and work, they don't like it if it's cold and wet, these Kurds are hard workers. Secondly, yes Saddam has gone but that doesn't mean there is no persecution, this guy may have left everything behind and so would have nothing to go back to, no home, job, there is no benefits over there to help him back on his feet. He has made a settled life here and is working, leave him be darlingtondl3
  • Score: 68

12:41pm Fri 1 Aug 14

RealLivin says...

While I think the governments policy on let all in and here are some benefits you never paid into is wrong, people like this who are hard working are welcome, I cant stand lazy let every one else look after me people, immigrants or nationals. I use this car wash regularly and these guys do a great job winter or summer. My only question is why the hell did he come to Darlington, I hope your business and arty stuff come to fruition but beware of billy and his mates, thanks to whom we no longer have an arts center for you to show your art off in and as your business is doing well Im sure a spanner is well on its way.
While I think the governments policy on let all in and here are some benefits you never paid into is wrong, people like this who are hard working are welcome, I cant stand lazy let every one else look after me people, immigrants or nationals. I use this car wash regularly and these guys do a great job winter or summer. My only question is why the hell did he come to Darlington, I hope your business and arty stuff come to fruition but beware of billy and his mates, thanks to whom we no longer have an arts center for you to show your art off in and as your business is doing well Im sure a spanner is well on its way. RealLivin
  • Score: 11

3:38pm Fri 1 Aug 14

railwaygrafter says...

Mariwan, Needs to be commended. A queue of mainly long term unemployed English punters at Peterborough JOB centre, seen recently, 99 per cent of Jobs on immediate offer, taken by hardworking Poles and NOT British. A long term English fit young English unemployed punter was overheard to remark. Quote, *** I am not taking agricultural Jobs, too much like hard work I would rather remain at home, on my Nanny State benefit Free Dole-out doing nothing. Just give me my Dole money mate.
Mariwan, Needs to be commended. A queue of mainly long term unemployed English punters at Peterborough JOB centre, seen recently, 99 per cent of Jobs on immediate offer, taken by hardworking Poles and NOT British. A long term English fit young English unemployed punter was overheard to remark. Quote, *** I am not taking agricultural Jobs, too much like hard work I would rather remain at home, on my Nanny State benefit Free Dole-out doing nothing. Just give me my Dole money mate. railwaygrafter
  • Score: 5

6:02pm Fri 1 Aug 14

pixie4612 says...

There is an art gallery in the town library. It displays new work every month I think.
There is an art gallery in the town library. It displays new work every month I think. pixie4612
  • Score: 6

8:45pm Fri 1 Aug 14

spottycow says...

CAR WASHING IS CASH IN HAND FOR THESE WORKERS
CAR WASHING IS CASH IN HAND FOR THESE WORKERS spottycow
  • Score: -6

5:48am Sat 2 Aug 14

Mummy101 says...

There is a lot of judgemental people out there this guy is one in a million he's great guy father, hard worker, "caring and talented he has a heart of gold and as helped a lot of people it's took him years to get were he is now so don't judge please!
There is a lot of judgemental people out there this guy is one in a million he's great guy father, hard worker, "caring and talented he has a heart of gold and as helped a lot of people it's took him years to get were he is now so don't judge please! Mummy101
  • Score: 7

4:07pm Sat 2 Aug 14

railwaygrafter says...

Putting biased point scoring Politics to one side, the absolute fact is that many British young people nowadays (not all of course) are sheer bone idle workshy, they all want the money but they refuse to do any work (or as little as possible) that goes with it. That is why your hardworking Poles are sought after in particularly industry and agriculture.
Putting biased point scoring Politics to one side, the absolute fact is that many British young people nowadays (not all of course) are sheer bone idle workshy, they all want the money but they refuse to do any work (or as little as possible) that goes with it. That is why your hardworking Poles are sought after in particularly industry and agriculture. railwaygrafter
  • Score: 1

4:12pm Sat 2 Aug 14

railwaygrafter says...

This country has gone to the dogs we have spurned legions of bone idle nanny state benefit-drawing dependent punters. The only certificate they have is one of 'learned helplessness'. Britain used to be the workshop of the world and envy of the world. You are hard pressed nowadays to get any British 20 Year old to dig a hole, pull a cabbage, or pick up a few potatoes. (Bad backs and Trade Union dinosaur rules apply).
This country has gone to the dogs we have spurned legions of bone idle nanny state benefit-drawing dependent punters. The only certificate they have is one of 'learned helplessness'. Britain used to be the workshop of the world and envy of the world. You are hard pressed nowadays to get any British 20 Year old to dig a hole, pull a cabbage, or pick up a few potatoes. (Bad backs and Trade Union dinosaur rules apply). railwaygrafter
  • Score: 0

7:46am Sun 3 Aug 14

Jan Van-Winkel says...

Really, Northern Echo...

"Mr Abdullah works with a variety of mediums"

I'm sure he's not consorting with spiritualsits as part of his art. Media would be the correct term.

Such sloppy reporting and writing has education really taken such a nose dive in this country?
Really, Northern Echo... "Mr Abdullah works with a variety of mediums" I'm sure he's not consorting with spiritualsits as part of his art. Media would be the correct term. Such sloppy reporting and writing has education really taken such a nose dive in this country? Jan Van-Winkel
  • Score: -1

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