Hayv Kahraman

Born 1981
Hometown Baghdad, Iraq
Lives and Works San Francisco, CA
University of Umea, Umea, Sweden, 2006
Academy of Art and Design, Florence, Italy, 2005

American Embassy, Baghdad, Iraq

The Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

MATHAF Museum of Modern Art, Doha, United Arab Emirates

The Rubell Family Collection, Miami, Florida

Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, New York

The Third Line, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Iraqi artist Hayv Kahraman grapples with political and social space in her paintings and installations, exercising the female body as a subject to dissect psychological brutality she has experienced or witnessed. The artist emigrated to Switzerland in the early 1990s, pursuing studies in Florence—reflected in her condensed figurative scenes reminiscent of Sienese Renaissance painting, illuminated manuscripts, and calligraphy. She confronts immigration in overt illustrations of rupture, often in the form of severed body parts that relay her physical detachment and isolation from home. Kahraman’s work also speaks to the role of the female in her homeland, and the ways in which social and political space is stifled for women. By addressing “Western and Middle Eastern culture, aesthetics and concepts of gender through her personal history,” the artist commiserates with marginal communities and exposes the circumstances that thwart their potential.

Kahraman has exhibited at institutions including Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Turkey, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark, San Antonio Museum of Modern Art, Texas, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Institute de Monde Arabe, Paris, Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, Princeton, New Jersey, Contemporary Art Center of Thessaloniki, Greece, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, and Saatchi Gallery, London, among others. She was awarded the Jameel Prize by the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2011.

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