Add Calendar Event


Oct 11, 2018

Venue info

Beth Israel Congregation

291 Maine Street, Waterville, ME 04901



Iraqi Artist Exhibits Paintings in Waterville

Paintings by Iraqi artist Kifah Abdulla will be featured at an exhibit at Beth Israel Congregation, Waterville, in October. Titled “Freeing the Captive,” the show opens with a reception on Sunday, Oct. 11 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Beth Israel, 291 Main Street. Free and open to the public, the evening will feature Iraqi food and a talk by the artist. The exhibit will remain up through Thursday, Oct. 25 and can be seen by appointment or at synagogue events.

“Freeing the Captive” showcases a selection of paintings by artist, activist, and poet, Kifah Abdulla. The exhibit depicts Abdulla’s experience as a prisoner of war in Iran, where he was jailed for eight years. Using bold colors, Cubist-inspired human forms, and modern applications of Arabic calligraphy, Abdulla draws inspiration from a myriad of sources and experiments with different styles as vehicles for storytelling.

Abdulla populates his works with vibrant color, rendering the difficult subject material of his imprisonment more accessible. Of the exhibit Abdulla says, “the story [of “Freeing the Captive”] is that I survived. I was strong, not in muscle, but my soul was strong. All the time I was in prison my mind was colorful, even though my uniform was gray. They captured my body but not my imagination.”

In addition to painting, Abdulla has published a volume of poetry titled Dead Still Dream (2016) and is preparing to publish a memoir titled, Mountains Without Peaks. Abdulla reads his poetry accompanied by a cellist at venues around Maine.

“Freeing the Captive” is sponsored by Beth Israel Congregation, the Center for Small Town Jewish Life, and the Colby Center for the Arts and Humanities.

For more information about “Freeing the Captive” and Kifah Abdulla, contact the Center for Small Town Jewish Life at or visit the website,