Google Doodle celebrates Iraqi artist Naziha Salim
Google Doodle celebrates Iraq's contemporary artist Naziha Salim today. An artist, professor, and author, Naziha Salim wrote a book on the history of modern art in Iraq, Iraq: Contemporary Art, in 1977. On April 23, 2020, Salim's work was highlighted by the Barjeel Art Foundation in their collection of female artists. Today's doodle honors her painting style and input to the art world!
She was born into a family of Iraqi artists in Turkey. Both her parents and all her older siblings were artists. The theme of her paintings revolves around women and family. Her paintings represent her own family, rural Iraqi women, and Mesopotamian and Arab goddesses. Salim's participation in experimental movements is reflected in her paintings. They focused on the changes in women's lives.
In the 1940s, she graduated from the Baghdad Fine Arts Institution and then studied art education in Paris at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. She was one of the first women to study abroad with a scholarship. There, Salim specialized in fresco and mural painting. She later taught at the Fine Arts Institute in Baghdad from 1960 until her retirement in the '80s.
She was a foundation member of the arts group Al-Ruwwad, which was also known as the "Avante Garde or Primitive group." The first group of Iraqi artists studied abroad and sought to incorporate modern European art techniques with an Iraqi appeal. They eventually influenced the following generations of Iraqi artists. Salim's book is a crucial resource for the development of Iraq's modern art movement.
Former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani had described her as "the first Iraqi woman who anchored the pillars of Iraqi contemporary art." Naziha Salim became paralyzed after suffering a stroke in 2003. She died at 81. President Talabani termed her demise a "big loss to Iraqi art and culture." Naziha Salim's artwork can be viewed at the Sharjah Art Museum and Modern Art Iraqi Archive.