Interview: Refugee artist Dzamil Kamanger

There's a man sitting on a camp chair outside the cabinet office. He appears to be knitting.

Usually anyone loitering near the chief government building is quickly moved on, but not a security guard is to be seen.

A camera crew and a few other interested bystanders are milling around the man, but he seems for the most part blissfully unaware of their presence, instead concentrating on a curious blue and gold piece of cloth he is working with his hands.

On closer inspection he is doing something with beads. A geometric pattern looking like a coat of arms slowly forms as his fingers work the strings and beads, as if he is massaging them.

Dzamil Kamanger was born in 1948 in Mariwan, Iran. He is an Iranian Kurd and arrived in Helsinki in 1994.

He studied ceramics at Kermanshah University and is in Riga as part of the annual Survival Kit art festival.

He'll be presenting four beadworks made using a traditional Kurdish technique: passports for states that no longer exist. As an Iranian Kurd, Kamanger is interested in countries that don’t exist, because the Kurds don’t have their own country.

LSM took the opportunity to talk to Dzamil about his life, work and how it feels to be an artistic refugee.

Dzamil Kamanger, Iranian-Finnish artist
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