Iraq

Resme Al Kafaji

Resme Al Kafaji was born in Diywania. He earned a degree in Art from the Institute of Fine Arts of Baghdad, then later a diploma in Fine Arts in painting from the Accademia di Belle Arti of Florence, Italy. Since 1977 he has been living and working in Florence and Prato. Before moving to Italy he participated in various exhibitions in Iraq. His work is influenced by both his native Iraq and adopted European home, and he is known for working exclusively in black and white since 2003, his last visit to Iraq. Solo exhibitions have been held in Florence, Prato, Bergen, Brussels and Milan while he has also participated in group exhibitions across Italy and in the Netherlands, UK, Sweden, Slovenia and Syria. He is the first Arab artist to have work on display at the Napoli Museum. His works are in the collections of C.A.O.S. Museum- Terni, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Casoria- Casoria (CE) and Museum of Arts and Antiquities – Al-Qadissiya University, Iraq, and in private art collections in Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Great Britain

Saddam Jumaily

Born in Basra in 1974, Saddam Jumaily lives and works in Jordan. He has a bachelor degree in Plastic Arts and an MA in Fine Arts-Painting department from the Basra University College of Fine Arts, Iraq, where has also lectured in Fine Arts. Jumaily is known for his unique style and for the curious dream-like forms that populate his paintings. To date he has held a number of solo exhibitions in Amman, Jordan and Dubai, United Arab Emirates while his work has also featured in group exhibitions and art fairs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Beirut and London, and in auction at Christie’s New York. He has received many awards, including the Rescue Fund Scholarship in 2015 and 2016, awarded by the Institute of International Education, Washington, DC, the 2008 Expert Young Artists’ Awards by the Iraqi Plastic Artists Society, the 2008 annual contest of Ishtar-Young Artists by the Plastic Art Iraqi Association, and the State Incentive Award from Iraq’s Ministry of Culture in 2001.

Maysaloun Faraj

Born in 1955 in Hollywood, California to Iraqi parents, Maysaloun Faraj grew up between the USA (1955-68) in Baghdad, where she obtained a BSc in Architecture from Baghdad University 1973-78) and London, where she furthered her art education and where she has been living and working since 1982. In her work, Faraj draws on her mixed heritage to contemplate the intersection of place and identity. Her work is in notable public collections including the British Museum (London, UK), National Museum for Women in the Arts (Washington, USA), Rotterdam Werldmuseum (the Netherlands), Agha Khan Collection (Canada/UK), Barjeel Foundation (Sharjah, UAE), National Museum (Amman, Jordan), Centre for Arab American Studies (Michigan, USA) as well as private collections including Hussain Ali Harba (Turin, Italy), Ali Husri (Amman, Jordan) and the late Basil al-Rahim (London, UK). Faraj’s love for Iraq and her passion to bring the works of her fellow peers to the fore led to Strokes of Genius: Contemporary Iraqi Art (SOG), founded in 1995, a groundbreaking project comprising a UK-USA exhibition tour (2000-3), iNCiA (International Network for Contemporary Iraqi Art) and the seminal SOG publication of which she is editor. In 2002 she co-founded Aya Gallery (London) with her husband Ali Mousawi, curating important exhibitions with a focus on Iraqi art.  In 2008 Faraj was invited to serve as a judge for the first Arab Art and Culture Award in the UK.

Nawal Alsadon

Born in 1953 in Baghdad, Nawal Alsadon graduated in 1980 in Graphic Design from the Academy of Fine Arts in Bucharest, Romania. She began participating in group exhibitions in 1975, beginning with The Association of Iraqi Artists gallery in Baghdad, and since then has had her art shown in numerous exhibitions across the world, including in Romania, Yemen, Syria, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Scotland, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Turkey. Her solo exhibitions began in 1978 at the Culture House, Bucharest, and later in 1980 at the Fain Art Academy in Bucharest. Since then she has had solo shows at the Ministry of Culture Exhibition Hall, Yemen (1985), the National Museum -Kunst Forening – Copenhagen, Brede (1990), Shambala Gallery, Copenhagen (1992), Culture House KUC, Copenhagen (1999), Shambala Gallery, Copenhagen (2000), Gallery Al Mada, Damascus (2002), Nawal Alsadon Studio, Old Damascus (2004), Art House Gallery, Copenhagen (2005), and the French Culture Center, Damascus (2007).

Serwan Baran

Born in Baghdad in 1968, Serwan Baran is a graduate of Fine Arts from Babel University, a member of AIAP, the Iraqi Fine Art Association, and the National Art Association. Baran has exhibited extensively including at the Baghdad Second International Festival, Wasiety Exhibitions, Modern Iraqi Art Exhibitions from 1991-95, the Iraqi modern art exhibition in Amman, Cyprus and Qatar, Cairo Pinali (1999), 10X10 Orfali Gallery, Amman from 2008-2009, Kuwait Pinali (2011), and Morocco Pinali (2012). Solo exhibitions have taken place across the world, including in Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Morocco, the Dominican Republic, and Japan. Baran’s awards for art include the first prize for youth, Baghdad, 1990, the second prize at the Iraqi Contemporary Art Exhibition, 1994, the golden prize at the Iraqi Contemporary Art Exhibition, 1995, an honorary medal at the Cairo 7th Biennial, 2002, and a discretionary award at Baghdad Pinal 2002.

Nadim Kufi

Nadim Kufi was born in Bagdad in 1962. Since 1994 he has been residing and working permanently in the Netherlands as a multidisciplinary visual artist. Kufi completed his education in Graphic Design and Multimedia with distinction at the HKU in the Netherlands in 2002. As a conceptual artist, he has put serious energy into many international events around the world. His work often compares Middle Eastern culture and European culture through images and thoughts vested in ambiguity and paradox. He is a strong believer in minimalism and through this he hopes to influence the audience’s perception through repetition and overlapping structures. He wishes to remind the viewers of their identities, cognition and social experiences. Kufi’s recent works manifest the narration of cultural identity in a historical dimension.

Sinan Hussein

Born in 1977 in Iraq, Sinan Hussein graduated from the University of Fine Arts in Baghdad. He is a member of the Iraqi Fine Arts Artist Society and of the Union of Iraqi Artists. Sinan Hussein’s whimsical characters seem weightless in an environment reminiscent of Limbo. Hussein’s protagonists are depicted in pairs or as lone figures, twisting through open spaces. Lovers are huddled as clusters around which other elements revolve. To achieve this effect, their bodies are first rendered with a thin line that creates a shell, a home for the spirits in need of shelter. This volume is then completed with solid forms and finalized with the layering of washes, creating volumes. At times, his characters are canonized with golden halos, some of which grow to enclose the entire figure.  Other symbolic clues are distributed throughout Hussein’s compositions. Fish figures appear as an indication of seclusion and reproduction, a paradox that mirrors the reality of exile.

Mahmoud Obaidi

Born in 1966 in Baghdad, Mahmoud Obaidi is an Iraqi-Canadian artist whose work has been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. After leaving Iraq in 1991, he obtained his master’s of Fine Arts at the University of Guelph in Canada, and completed diplomas in new media and film from Toronto and Los Angeles, respectively. His work has been exhibited extensively, including at Qatar Museums Gallery, Doha, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Saatchi Gallery, London, the National Museum of Bahrain, the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, the National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Texas, and the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec, among others. His work is part of the permanent collection of a number of significant museums, foundations, and private collections.

Leila Kubba

Leila Kubba was born of a Swiss American mother and Iraqi father. She was educated in Baghdad and went on to graduate with a National Diploma of Art and Design from the Manchester School of Art and Architecture in the UK and also studied for a period of five years at the Corcoran College of Art in Washington DC, as well as taking courses in printmaking and painting at Saint Martins College, London.  She has participated in several international exhibitions, including 24 solo exhibitions at Leighton House in London, Magna Gallery in Athens, Atrium of International Monetary Fund and Alif Gallery in Washington DC, at the Cultural Centers of the UAE in Abu Dhabi, and in Amman, Jordan, as well as touring exhibitions across the United States. Her works are in private and public collections internationally, including the British Museum, International Monetary Fund, Jordan National Gallery, Abu Dhabi Cultural Center, and Audi Bank, Beirut.  Today she is the director and owner of Art Space Hamra in Beirut, Lebanon, where she holds exhibitions for contemporary artists, as well as working creatively on her own paintings.

Dia Azzawi

Born in Baghdad in 1939, Dia Azzawi started his artistic career in 1964, after graduating from the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad and completing a degree in Archaeology from Baghdad University in 1962. In 1969, Azzawi formed the New Vision group (al-Ru’yya al-Jadidah), uniting fellow artists ideologically and culturally as opposed to stylistically. Through his involvement with the New Vision group Azzawi found inspiration in contemporary subjects and issues, particularly the plight of the Palestinians. From 1968-1976, Azzawi was the director of the Iraqi Antiquities Department in Baghdad. He has lived in London since 1976, where he was art advisor to the city’s Iraqi Cultural Centre, from 1977-1980. Azzawi’s move to London led him to rediscover book art (dafatir), an art form that he has encouraged other artists from the region to explore. His art features in international collections, including the Museums of Modern Art in Baghdad, Damascus and Tunis, Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah; Kinda Foundation, Saudi Arabia; Una Foundation, Casablanca; Arab Monetary Fund, Abu Dhabi, Development Fund, Kuwait, Jeddah International Airport, the British Museum, Tate Modern, and Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Institut du Monde Arabe, Bibliothèque Nationale de France and Colas Foundation, Paris, Harba Collection, Iraq and Italy, Gulbenkian Collection, Barcelona, and Library of Congress and the World Bank, Washington DC.