Naziha Salim (Arabic: نزيهة سليم, 1927–15 February 2008) was an Iraqi artist, educator and author, described by the country's president, Jalal Talabani, as "the first Iraqi woman who anchored the pillars of Iraqi contemporary art".[2]

Naziha Salim
Born1927 (1927)
Istanbul, Turkey
Died15 February 2008(2008-02-15) (aged 80–81)
Baghdad, Iraq
Known forPainting

Life edit

Not a great deal of scholarly attention has been given to the cultural and artistic lives of female artists.[3] In the case of Naziha Salim, her story has been eclipsed by that of her famous older brother, Jawad Salim.[4]

Naziha Salim was born in 1927 in Istanbul to Iraqi parents, who were originally from Mosul.[1][2][5] At the time of her birth, her father was an officer in the Ottoman army, stationed in Turkey.[6] The family returned to Baghdad in the 1920s, when Naziha was a small child.[7]

She was born into a family of Iraqi artists living in Turkey. Her father, Hajji Mohammed Salim (1883-1941) was a painter, while her mother was also an artist and a skilled embroiderer.[8] The artist, Abdul Qadir Al Rassam, the first Iraqi to paint in the European style, was an older relative (possibly her father's cousin).[9] Her older brothers were also talented artists,[10] Rashid (b. 1918) was a political cartoonist; Su'ad Salim (b. 1918) a painter and designer who would design the coat of arms for the Iraqi Republic; Jawad (b. 1920), a painter and sculptor became Iraq's most beloved sculptor and Nizarre (b. 1925) was also an artist.[11]

She was one of the first women to be awarded a scholarship to study art abroad.[12] In the 1940s, she graduated from the Baghdad Fine Arts Institution and, after gaining the scholarship continued her art education in Paris.[2] In the 1960s Salim returned to the Fine Arts Institute as a teacher and remained at the school until her retirement in the 1980s.[2]

She was an active participant in Iraq's arts community; a foundation member of the arts group known as Al-Ruwwad, (also known as the “Avante Garde or Primitive group”);[13] the first group of Iraqi artists to study abroad and who sought to incorporate modern European art techniques within a distinctly Iraqi aesthetic. This group had a major influence on later generations of Iraqi artists.[14]

Naziha Salim suffered a stroke in 2003, which left her paralyzed. She lived for another five years, dying in Baghdad at the age of 81. President Jalal Talabani called her death a "big loss to Iraqi art and culture".[2]

Work edit

She authored a history of modern Iraqi art, entitled, Iraq: Contemporary Art, published by Sartec in 1977, which continues to be used as a valuable source for the early development of Iraq's modern art movement.[15]

Her paintings’ themes revolve around representations of women and family; her own family, rural Iraqi women, peasant women, women at work, Mesopotamian and Arab goddesses.[16] She participated in various experimental movements and her work often illustrated the changes taking place in women's lives. As such, Salim, along with her contemporaries, “contributed to the opening up of news cultural, social and political spaces.” [17]

Paintings edit

  • Dancers, date unknown
  • One Night's Dream, 1978[18]
  • The Martyr’s Wife, date unknown, now in the Barjeel Collection

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b "الفنانة نزيهة سليم". Iraqi Plastic Artists Society. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Prominent Iraqi painter Naziha Salim dies in Baghdad at 81". Associated Press. International Herald Tribune. 2008-02-17. Retrieved 2008-02-19.
  3. ^ Auricchio, L., Adélaïde Labille-Guiard: Artist in the Age of Revolution, Getty Publications, 2009, p. 1
  4. ^ Dawson, A., "Forgotten female artists of Modern Arab Art to Get Their Due in Sharjah Show", "The Art Newspaper", 27 August 2019; Gronlund, M., “Sooud Al Qassemi on 'male chauvinism' in art: 'Women represent women better'”, 26 August 2019; Carla, A., “"Here’s Why You Should Attend Representational Art Meaning", 29 August 2019
  5. ^ Tejel, J., Writing the Modern History of Iraq: Historiographical and Political Challenges, World Scientific, 2012, p. 476
  6. ^ Metcher-Atassi, S., "Munif's Interest in Modern Art, Friendship, Symbolic Exchange and the Art of the Book," The MIT Electronic Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Spring, 2007, pp 99-116
  7. ^ Shabout, N. (ed), A Century of Iraqi Art, Bonham's of London, 2015 [Illustrated Catalog to accompany sale, Monday 20 April 2015
  8. ^ Ministry of Culture, Iraq, Culture and Arts in Iraq: Celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of the July 17–30 Revolution, Iraq, Ministry of Culture and Arts, 1978, p. 23
  9. ^ Reynolds, D.F., The Cambridge Companion to Modern Arab Culture, Cambridge University Press, 2015, p.199
  10. ^ Ministry of Culture, Iraq, Culture and Arts in Iraq: Celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of the July 17–30 Revolution, Iraq, Ministry of Culture and Arts, 1978, p. 23
  11. ^ Ali, W., Modern Islamic Art: Development and Continuity, University of Florida Press, 1997, p. 47; Ministry of Culture, Iraq, Culture and Arts in Iraq: Celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of the July 17–30 Revolution, Iraq, Ministry of Culture and Arts, 1978, p. 23
  12. ^ Ingrams, D., The Awakened Women in Iraq, Third World Centre, 1983, p. 140; Note: The first two women to be granted scholarships were Naziha Rashid and Naziha Salim, sometimes known as “the two Nazihas”.
  13. ^ Nusair, I., "The Cultural Costs of the 2003 US-Led Invasion of Iraq: A Conversation with Art Historian Nada Shabout", Feminist Studies, Vol. 39, No. 1, 2013, pp. 119-148,
  14. ^ Wijdan, A. (ed.), Contemporary Art From The Islamic World, Scorpion, 1989, p.166
  15. ^ Sinclair, S. (ed.), Bibliography of Art and Architecture in the Islamic World, BRILL, 2012, p. 652
  16. ^ Bashkin, O., "Representations of Women in the Writings of the Intelligentsia in Hashemite Iraq", 1921–1958, Journal of Middle East Women's Studies, vol. 4, no. 1, pp 53-82, 2008,
  17. ^ Al-Ali. N.S., Iraqi Women: Untold Stories From 1948 to the Present, Zed Books, 2007, p. 68
  18. ^ Shabout, N.M., Modern Arab Art: Formation of Arab aesthetics, Colour Plate No. 2, p. 000

External links edit