“In my life, nothing is ever certain,” says Iraqi refugee and artist Halim Al-karim, answering a question he probably hears often — why he uses so much blurriness. Al-Karim lived in opposition to Saddam’s regime during the first gulf war and found himself hiding in the desert, in a hole in the ground covered by rocks, for 3 years. During this time a Bedouin woman brought him food and water and taught him mysticism and gypsy customs.

I first came across an Al-Karim in the back of Stux Gallery, where he’d recently shown, and was stunned by the eyes of his female subject. One might imagine this is the visage of the woman who kept him alive in the desert all those years ago.