Blending talent in different forms

Al-Mishkhab lawyer fuses legal career with artistic flair in thread portraits of Iraqi luminaries

KARBALA — Reda Al-Fatlawi, a lawyer from Al-Mishkhab, has expertly blended his legal profession with a passion for thread art, creating intricate portraits of notable Iraqi figures.

His collection features detailed thread portraits of architect Zaha Hadid, religious scholar Sheikh Ahmed Al-Waeli, poet Muzaffar Al-Nawab, legal expert Tariq Harb, and the historic Winged Bull of Assyria.

Al-Fatlawi conducts his artistic work from his home, managing to merge his career with his artistic endeavors. He sells some of his art, which he says “helps him appreciate the value of his artistic achievements.”

His journey into the world of traditional art began during the COVID-19 pandemic, a period that saw him turning to a craft practiced historically by Ottoman prisoners. The art form then involved creating pieces adorned with Quranic verses and names as a way to pass time and acquire new skills.

Speaking to 964media, Al-Fatlawi explained his inspiration came from watching videos by Karbala artist Saeed Howaidi.

“I was drawn to the videos of Saeed Howaidi and decided to give it a try myself,” Al-Fatlawi said. He has since adopted a modern technique introduced by English artist Petros Vrellis but maintains a preference for the traditional, handmade approach. “Although there are machine-produced artworks, they can’t match the beauty of handcrafted pieces,” he said.

In blending his art and legal profession, Al-Fatlawi likened his passions to two sides of the same coin.

“Law forms the basis for everything, and just as the legal profession is an art, so too is painting,” he said. “They each teach patience towards the things they wish to achieve.”