Dia Azzawi was one of the founding members of the New Vision Group in Baghdad in 1969. He left Iraq in the 1970s for London, with the intention of never returning. In The Body’s Anthem (1979), Azzawi responds to the August 1976 massacre of over 1,000 Palestinians and Lebanese at Tel al Zaatar, a UN-administered refugee camp in northeast Beirut. The artist summarizes:
“The Body’s Anthem: pictures I chose of that siege. It is not a dirge, nor is it the document of a dark massacre — it is an expression that seeks to create a free memory persisting against oppression, until a time when it can exhaust oppression’s evil.
A time that will summon the blood of friends and brothers, hastening the return of the martyrs. When the nation will be bread clean of soil and blood. A space unhindered by black treachery and the nets of disguise. When feet will cross safely over beautiful times. And men will not sell their dreams. (Dar Al-Muthallath: 1980).”