The Art of Dictatorship

Saddam Hussein's artistic legacy

The Art of Dictatorship Saddam Hussein may be America's public enemy number one, but for Baghdad's legions of artists, he is their inspiration. We take a look at Iraq's art and culture, which owes a debt to Hussein.

Innumerable statues litter Baghdad's streets. Paintings fill galleries. All have an eerie similarity to each other. Saddam Hussein has done a great deal for the arts - he is chiselled in marble and daubed onto canvas so often, he needs an army of artists. All need to be trained. "I'd love to make a bust of our President. But I think I can't now!" says one Academy student. Such training has produced artists like Dia al Khuzae, whose bicycle pictures are famous across Iraq. Saddam's obsession with building palaces has not only recreated the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, but given scores of architects and craftsmen jobs. Traditional folk songs talk of love and peace. But how long from love to war?

Produced by ORF Fernsehprogramm-Service GmbH & Co KG
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