Naziha Salim 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“
Life of Naziha Salim
Not a great deal of scholarly attention has been given to the cultural and artistic lives of female artists.In the case of Naziha Salim , her story has been eclipsed by that of her famous older brother, Jawad Salim.
Naziha Salim was born in 1927 in Istanbul to Iraqi parents, who were originally from Mosul. At the time of her birth, her father was an officer in the Ottoman army, stationed in Turkey. The family returned to Baghdad in the 1920s.
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. The artist, Abdul Qadir Al Rassam, the first Iraqi to paint in the European style, was an older relative. Her older brothers were also talented artists.
Naziha Salim Biography
|Naziha Salim Born On
|1927 in Istanbul
|Hajji Mohammed Salim
|Institute of Arts in Baghdad, Ecole des Beaux-Arts (Paris)
|Naziha Known For
|Naziha Died On
|February 15, 2008 Baghdad, Iraq
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She was one of the first women to be awarded a scholarship to study art abroad. In the 1940s, she graduated from the Baghdad Fine Arts Institution and, after gaining the scholarship continued her art education in Paris.
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”), the first group of Iraqi artists to study abroad and who sought to incorporate modern European art techniques within a distinctly Iraqi aesthetic.
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 on 15 February 2008.
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.
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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.
Naziha Salim Famous Paintings
- One Night’s Dream, 1978
- The Martyr’s Wife
About Naziha Salim Father (Mohammed Hajji Salim)
Mohammed Hajji Salim (1883-1941) was among the first generation of modern Iraqi artists to receive a European arts education. He was a talented amateur artist who produced still lifes, landscapes and portraits, most of which have not survived. He is mainly remembered as the patriarch of an artistic dynasty and as the father of the distinguished sculptor, Jawad Saleem.
Mohammed Hajji Salim was born into a well-to-do family in Baghdad in 1883. His parents were both originally from Mosul in Northern Iraq. Selim was educated at the Military Academy in Istanbul where drawing and painting were a standard part of the curriculum
Salim was part of a small group of Iraqi artists comprising; Asim Hafidh (1886-1978) and Mohammed Saleh Zaki (1888-1974),which formed the first modern Iraqi artists to take up easel painting and generally work in the European style.
Selim painted in still life, portrait and landscape, but few of his paintings survived the ravages of revolution, war and looting that afflicted Iraq throughout the 20th-century. His most well-known surviving work is Still Life painted in 1941, the same year as his death.
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