ROOTED IN IRAQ: THE BAGHDAD GROUP FOR MODERN ART
Amidst a political climate that witnessed the nationalisation of Egypt’s Suez Canal, and the establishment of the Baath Party in Syria, came a Western-trained artist who felt compelled to safeguard contemporary Iraqi art: Jewad Selim. Having studied in Europe, he returned to his native Iraq in 1940 and joined the Institute of Fine Art in Baghdad. Eleven years later, Selim and his protégé, Shakir Hassan Al Said founded the Baghdad Group for Modern Art, an artistic platform that sought to modernise and reference the country’s heritage – including Assyrian, Babylonian and Abbasid influences – with a nod to Yahya Al Wasiti, the miniature painter. After Selim’s untimely passing, Al Said, held the reins of the Group for a while, that included intellectuals, writers and poets. The legacy of the Group, however, outlived them. Who were these pioneering ‘Mesopotamians’ and how did they come to define an Iraqi art movement?
- Hanaa Malallah, artist and associate professor at the Royal University for Women, Bahrain
- Amin Alsaden, Teaching Fellow and PhD Candidate, Harvard University
- Salwa Mikdadi, Associate Professor, Practice of Art History, NYU Abu Dhabi
- Moderated by Nada Shabout, Professor of Art History and Director of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Studies Initiative at the University of North Texas, USA, and member of Art Dubai Modern Advisory Committee
This talk is supported by the MiSK Art Institute