Mar 2024

The Baghdad Group for Modern Art : Shaping Modernism in Iraq through Affinities and Congruities

Nada Shabout
Paris, France
The École des modernités

Nada Shabout is a Regents Professor of Art History and the Coordinator of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Initiative (CAMCSI) at the University of North Texas. She is the founding president of the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art from the Arab World, Iran and Turkey (AMCA) and founding director of Modern Art Iraq Archive (MAIA). She is a curator and author of numerous essays and books, including Modern Arab Art: Formation of Arab Aesthetics (2007), and coeditor of Modern Art in the Arab World: Primary Documents, Museum of Modern Art (2018). 

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Image : Nada Shabout © Ahna Hubnik

In 1951, artists Jewad Selim and Shakir Hassan Al Said founded the Baghdad Group for Modern Art, bringing together artists who shared the aspirations for a new visual language capable of asserting their visual distinctiveness within a world of multiplicity and intersections (among them Jawad Saleem, Shakir Hassan Al Said studied in Paris). As artists of the Baghdad Group for Modern Art engaged in reimagining Iraqi culture through abstraction, they situated modernism in Iraqi art on a progressive path that equally contributed to the formation of modern Iraqi identities. The group initiated a radical charge for the development of modern aesthetics in Iraq that negotiated an explicit understanding of representation that would resolve the crisis caused by modernity and change. This lecture revisits the group’s philosophies, accomplishments and lasting impact.

 27 march, 6:30 PM
At the Giacometti Lab and Live on Youtube
Free - Lecture in English
By Nada Shabout

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