26 February 2023–8 May 2023

Timeless Echoes

by Afifa Aleiby

Part of Alserkal Art Week

Renowned Iraqi artist Afifa Aleiby presents her most recent work, echoing her own life and tackling multiple societal and humane subjects.

Starts 26 February 2023

Ends 8 May 2023

Venue Zawyeh Gallery

Warehouse 27


Her paintings are poetic, with a unique quality of beauty mixed with the intensity of emotions. They are dominated by women: strong, fragile, happy, or miserable. Part of her work emits feelings of uneasiness, where women are presented in the form of monuments; white, motionless, and sad: broken in half like a statue; playing flute in the darkness; dressed in black hugging her daughter with a dark war background. Another section reflects happiness and contentment: A woman fast asleep holding her wide awake baby; another standing by a windowsill holding a flower as if waiting for a lover; a woman enjoying a sunny day in nature with warm settings.

Aleiby was born in Basra in 1953 and comes from an affluent family that nurtured her artistic practice, which was regarded as quite unconventional at the time. She studied at Baghdad’s renowned Institute of Fine Arts and lived in several places including Yemen, Moscow, and
Florence. Her style is influenced a great deal by Russian and Italian art. Aleiby went back to Iraq after years in exile but could not live there despite longing for her homeland. The features of the place have changed drastically after the war. Her work is a reflection on women's state in society even though she stresses that she does not intend it to be “a feminist statement” although it “may at times be related to women’s issues”. She adds: “I use the female figure as a medium to help communicate this idea. Women as human figures have something special that you cannot find in men: the way they move and
their beauty.”