Kurdish painter spotlight on Erbilia - Cheeman Isameel Erbil painter
Erbilia Online Magazine - Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq

Kurdish Painter Spotlight


Meet Kurdish painter Cheeman Ismaeel

The Pavillion of Iraq at the 55th International Art Exhibition, which is open to the public June – November 2013, has helped to shed light on the recent growth of art in Iraq and Erbil culture, specifically painting. The Iraq Pavilion at the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia is presenting Welcome to Iraq. Welcome to Iraq is a group exhibition of works by contemporary Iraqi artists. The artists presented are all Iraqi artists resident in Iraq. Working across a wide range of media, they represent two generations of artists across the country. The artists are a mix of photographers, drawers, painters, video producers, textiles, sculptors, and installers. Decades of repression, censorship, and conflict limited artistic expression in Iraq for years, but art is now re-emerging from within the country despite the difficulties artists face. This exhibition aims to give insight into the diversity of artists now practicing in Iraq as well as the embryonic but emerging art scene.

Of particular note is the diversity of painters in Erbil and the entire Kurdistan region. Painting is a growing art form, and there are many different painting styles that are expressed by Kurdish artists. Cheeman Ismaeel is a Kurdish painter who is featured at the International Art Exhibition. She has a very unique style of painting. She paints on old and used objects that are pre-used such as TVs and antique steel plates. For Ismaeel painting on old objects is a form of expression for her to cuddle the richness of the past; a start-point to look straight ahead to the future. For her, these paintings are completely autobiographical and help to keep her connected to her past and her late husband. In one article, Ismaeel describes the mission of a talented painter with great emotion. “At some points, the painter is similar to an angel who saves gloomy spirits and lifts them. At other instances, the painter is a rebel against all that is common, or somebody who harasses mankind. The painter has the natural ability to express true instant moods in a very special kind of language.”

Kadhim Nwir is another painter who is featured at the 55th International Art Exhibition. Nwir’s painting style is quite different from Ismaeel’s. He has always shifted between abstract and representational work. Nwir has an abstract art exhibition at the Pavillion of Iraq this year. His paintings on display at the pavilion are inspired by contemporary life in Iraq – “a life of daily pain, darkness, death, and oppression.” Since childhood, he has seen caravans carrying dead and disabled people and young men getting on buses and never coming back. Through his work, he tries to evoke scenes that are all to familiar to him, exploded body parts, which car bombs had propelled and stuck onto street walls, a dismal but true reality.

Another recent painting exhibition in Erbil, the exhibition Tirazan, which means is “Disintegration,” depicted a few other painting styles and mediums. May 13th – 15th, 2013, three artists, Bashdar Nuri, Hemin Hamid and Oumed Saeed displayed their paintings on 120x150cm frames for the Erbil art community. They used different materials like acrylic, charcoal, and normal ink. The exhibition took place at Media Gallery, which is like an Erbil museum. For more in Erbil culture & arts, please visit: http://erbilia.com/category/culture-arts/.


Erbilia Online Magazine, Erbil, Kurdistan region, Iraq. BE IN THE kNOW!

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