Afifa Aleiby's Timeless Echoes
Afifa Aleiby’s Timeless Echoes
   Reading 2 min

Zawyeh Gallery is showcasing Afifa Aleiby‘s latest artworks. The solo show of this famous Iraqi artist titled Timeless Echoes will be on view until 8 May 2023.

In the displayed works which reflect Aleiby’s own experience, she explores such themes as beauty, motherhood, politics, and society. In general, her work is a reflection on women’s state in society: the main subject of her art is a female figure. Inspired by Renaissance painting, religious Russian iconography, and social realism, the artist creates poetic paintings depicting women full of different intense emotions and in various situations. Some of her paintings depict serene and meditative scenes (for example, a sleeping woman holding her baby (Do not Disturb Her, 2023) or a woman enjoying a sunny day (My Eartly Paradise, 2021)), while in others, women are presented miserable and grieving (The Rape of Bagdad, 2003, where a mother dressed in black hugging her daughter, and a war scene serves as a background).

The female figure helps Aleiby communicate her ideas. “Women […] have something special that you cannot find in men […]”, the artist says. “[…] The way she sits, her poses, the way she moves her hands, her gaze, all of these elements are important ways to express my ideas.”

About the artist

Afifa Aleiby (b. 1953, Basra) is a figurative painter residing in the Netherlands. She studied at the Institute of Fine Arts, Baghdad. In 1974, Aleiby went to Moscow, where she studied monumental art at the Surikov Institute. After her graduation, the artist couldn’t return to Iraq because of the political situation there, so she lived in Italy, Moscow, and Yemen, where she worked as a teacher at the Institute of Fine Arts, Aden.

In 2004, Aleiby came back to Iraq but she couldn’t live there: the war changed the place dramatically. As she later said that it is unsafe to simply walk on the street as there is no security: “The government is corrupt and cannot protect us.” Speaking about the modern art scene in Iraq, Aleiby said that there is no freedom left.

Since 1973, the artist has had her art displayed in numerous solo and group shows: Rivers Converging, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, Berlin (2022); Landmarks of Estrangement, Picasso Gallery, Cairo, Egypt (2021); The Echo of Time, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London (2020); Re-Existence, Pulchri Studio, Den Haag, The Netherlands (2018); The Gulf Wars 1991–2011 at MOMA PS1, NY (2019-2020); Beirut Biennale, Beirut, Lebanon (2000); Fortezza S. Francesco. Omaggio a Dilvio Lotti, San Miniato, Italy (1997); and many others.

Her artworks are featured in such public and private collections as Azman Museum’s collection, Farjam Foundation, Rana Sadik Collection, and others.

To learn more about Timeless Echoes, please visit the official web page of the show.

You might also be interested in visiting Risham Syed’s The Seven Seas in Jameel Arts Centre.