Misadventure in the Middle East

Travels as a Tramp,
Artist and Spy

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‘When Henry Hemming set out in a pick-up truck called Yasmine to make a portrait of the Middle East, he had no idea what he would find or where he would be able to go – he wasn’t even sure how he would earn enough money to stay on the road for a year.

‘Hemming’s extraordinary journey takes him from the drug-fuelled ski-slopes of Iran via some of the region’s secret beaches, palaces, army barracks, police cells, nightclubs, torture chambers, brothels and artists’ studios to a Fourth of July party with American GIs in one of Saddam’s former palaces. Everywhere he goes his status as artist gets him into places he would not have been allowed otherwise.

‘As the invasion of Iraq intensifies, he realises that to finish his portrait of the region he must go to Baghdad and find the artistic renaissance there that he has heard about. In so doing he will risk his life. Throughout, he meets young people who share their dreams, doubts and passions, revealing a young and unpredictable Middle East that flies beneath the radar of nightly news bulletins. In these meetings, he also begins to understand what he himself represents, be it British spy, Muslim extremist, jihadi, tramp, bohemian, street-cleaner, Baghdadi, or, from time to time, artist. “Misadventure in the Middle East” offers a unique, evocative and highly original account of his journey.’

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READ AN EXTRACT

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SEE ARTWORK FROM THE JOURNEY

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Links

Yasmine lookalikes
Al Braithwaite
James Wilde
Hero Talabani
Isfahan Art University
Gallery Seyhoun
Bait Muzna Gallery
Hassan Meer
Lawrence Wright
Prince Hassan bin Talal
Orfali Gallery
Jane Taylor
Georgie Weedon
Darat Al Funun
Zainab Mahdi
Profile of Richard Wild
Jerusalem Print Workshop
Outline of Orientalism
Quran online

Some of my favourite books on the Middle East:

  • An Unexpected Light
    Jason Elliot
  • The Black Book
    Orhan Pamuk
  • From the Holy Mountain
    William Dalrymple
  • Islam and the Myth of Confrontation
    Fred Halliday
  • The Lust of Knowledge
    Robert Irwin
  • The Night, The Desert and the Horses
    Robert Irwin
  • Seven Pillars of Wisdom
    T. E. Lawrence
  • Arabian Sands
    Wilfred Thesiger
  • A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush
    Eric Newby
  • Damascus Nights
    Rafik Schami
  • 1001 Nights
  • Muhajababes
    Allegra Stratton

Misadventure in the Middle East

Travels as a Tramp,
Artist and Spy

*

‘When Henry Hemming set out in a pick-up truck called Yasmine to make a portrait of the Middle East, he had no idea what he would find or where he would be able to go – he wasn’t even sure how he would earn enough money to stay on the road for a year.

‘Hemming’s extraordinary journey takes him from the drug-fuelled ski-slopes of Iran via some of the region’s secret beaches, palaces, army barracks, police cells, nightclubs, torture chambers, brothels and artists’ studios to a Fourth of July party with American GIs in one of Saddam’s former palaces. Everywhere he goes his status as artist gets him into places he would not have been allowed otherwise.

‘As the invasion of Iraq intensifies, he realises that to finish his portrait of the region he must go to Baghdad and find the artistic renaissance there that he has heard about. In so doing he will risk his life. Throughout, he meets young people who share their dreams, doubts and passions, revealing a young and unpredictable Middle East that flies beneath the radar of nightly news bulletins. In these meetings, he also begins to understand what he himself represents, be it British spy, Muslim extremist, jihadi, tramp, bohemian, street-cleaner, Baghdadi, or, from time to time, artist. “Misadventure in the Middle East” offers a unique, evocative and highly original account of his journey.’

*

READ AN EXTRACT

*

*

SEE ARTWORK FROM THE JOURNEY

*

Links

Yasmine lookalikes
Al Braithwaite
James Wilde
Hero Talabani
Isfahan Art University
Gallery Seyhoun
Bait Muzna Gallery
Hassan Meer
Lawrence Wright
Prince Hassan bin Talal
Orfali Gallery
Jane Taylor
Georgie Weedon
Darat Al Funun
Zainab Mahdi
Profile of Richard Wild
Jerusalem Print Workshop
Outline of Orientalism
Quran online

Some of my favourite books on the Middle East:

  • An Unexpected Light
    Jason Elliot
  • The Black Book
    Orhan Pamuk
  • From the Holy Mountain
    William Dalrymple
  • Islam and the Myth of Confrontation
    Fred Halliday
  • The Lust of Knowledge
    Robert Irwin
  • The Night, The Desert and the Horses
    Robert Irwin
  • Seven Pillars of Wisdom
    T. E. Lawrence
  • Arabian Sands
    Wilfred Thesiger
  • A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush
    Eric Newby
  • Damascus Nights
    Rafik Schami
  • 1001 Nights
  • Muhajababes
    Allegra Stratton