In his poetry and paintings, Batou, a pharmacist in La Crescenta, hopes to relate the message that wars will never change societies, he said.
"Only freedom, knowledge, art and science, only those can build a good civilization," he said. "And the other thing is, I don't blame anybody for the destruction, but I blame ourselves. Iraqis are responsible for the destruction of our civilization because of their lack of knowledge. Knowledge is how we build civilization and freedom."
Born in Iraq, Batou is of Assyrian-Chaldean heritage. He received a degree in pharmacy in 1982 from the University of Baghdad. While there, he also studied music and art. He learned to play the guitar and had his first art exhibit in 1980. He was forced into the service as a medic and pharmacist during the Iraq-Iran war.
He fled to Los Angeles with his family in 1989 because America gave him the freedom to practice Christianity and relate his feelings in words and artwork, he said.
In both he illustrates how his country, from early Mesopotamia to modern times, has decayed slowly over the centuries.
Batou's abstract painting "Iraqi Freedom," which is in the exhibit, depicts the first day of the bombing of Baghdad in 2003.
The sky is red and the cityscape outlined in white represents the bombing. Between the sky and the city's buildings are blue projections, like hands with fingers reaching up toward the sky, as if they are saying, "Stop the bombing," he said.
There are faces in the painting that represent the god of beauty and the god of knowledge, representing statues one might find in a museum.
"It shows that history is broken, the museum is broken," Batou said. "There has been a division in the ethnicities in Iraq. They used to live together before 2003."
Gayane Galstyan, manager of Harvest Gallery, curated the art show. She remarked on the significance of a blue lion in the "Iraqi Freedom" painting.
"It represents how Babylonia was once a powerful country, but it was destroyed by Romans and Arabs," she said. "Paul has a deep love toward his nation and roots and the civilization that was lost and he has all that in the 'Iraqi Freedom' painting."
Ancient history is repeating itself through the war in Iraq, she said. The Iraqi people are being forced to leave their homes and villages.
"They are becoming homeless immigrants and they suffer and there is no reason for that," she said.
"If you read Batou's poems, you feel the pain his soul is feeling. With his poems, he's trying to wash away the scenes of destruction that he has witnessed."