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How Iraqi Are You?

From our friends at REORIENT, today we bring you a piece on the art of Iraqi-born artist Hayv Kahraman. Author Natasha Morris sat down with Kahraman at the Frieze Art Fair to talk about her research-based practice. Morris says “To attempt to read the dialogue between text and images in How Iraqi Are You? entails similar cognitive acrobatics, as tableaus of beautiful women hover over jokes about war and displacement; but, as with muraqqa’, their amalgamation is fixed in an instant of cultural deliberation.  This article was originally published on October 21, 2015.

Hayv Kahraman. Curfew, 2015; Oil on linen. Courtesy the Artist and The Third Line.

Hayv Kahraman. Curfew, 2015; oil on linen. Courtesy of the Artist and The Third Line.

As the trees of Regent’s Park gradually turn from green to yellow, they herald the coming of the largest commercial spectacle of the arts calendar: the Frieze Art Fair. While visitors to the fair swarmed around the booths, I sat down with Hayv Kahraman, an Iraqi-born artist of Kurdish descent, currently represented by The Third Line in Dubai. Before us were mounted two of her most recent works, Curfew and Magic Lamp, both produced earlier this year and recently released in the commercial market. Impressively large and beautifully executed, they were markedly different in comparison to the other works that surrounded us at the fair, which, for its 13th year, had a rather cartoonish bent; perhaps this is the beginning of Frieze’s teenage years. On my way in, I passed a gathering of life-sized plasticine-like figures that had seemingly escaped from what looked like a children’s television programme set during a cocktail party in the ’90s. Leaning in a corner was Mikhail Bulgakov’s Behemoth in the form of a towering and inflatable Felix the Cat. There were also a lot of rumpled, crumpled naked women. Kahraman’s work in comparison, however, boasted finely delivered figuration–not only unapologetically female and shamelessly lush in its decorative elements, but also referential to a visual heritage over 800 years old.

Read the full article here.

This article, How Iraqi Are You?, first appeared on DAILY SERVING Articles.