Sadik Kwaish Alfraji is one of the great contemporary artists of the Iraqi diaspora and much of his work addresses the vulnerability of human existence and speaks of loss, exile, fragmentation and displacement.
He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad in 1987 and went on to obtain a higher diploma in graphic design in 2000 from the CHK Constantijn Huygens Centre in the Netherlands. Trained as a painter and engraver, he is also the author of artist's books and audio-visual animations, which can be seen on Vimeo. Alfraji has exhibited his work internationally and his opus forms part of public and private collections which include the British Museum, Mathaf in Doha, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and the Barjeel Art Foundation. Alfraji was recently commissioned to create a work for the Iraqi Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale.
The black that predominates in all his work is not governed by an aesthetic issue but is rather intimately related to his life in Iraq. As the cultural agent Mayssa Fattouh explains: “Eager to present the feeling of horror at the atrocities of war, he chooses mourning in its purest forms; avoiding the artifice of colour thus becomes a tool for the artist, in his need to intellectualize tragedy, instead of sensualising it. Drawing inspiration from the bold gestures of German expressionism and the monochromatic tones of black and white, Alfraji turns to this visual language to represent destructive events, as Picasso did in 1937 through his most powerful political manifesto, Guernica”.
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