Kurdish Women
signed with the artist's monogram (upper left)
Sumi ink and gold paint on paper
2678 x 4118in. (68.3 x 104.6cm.)
Executed in 2009
Private Collection, USA.
Thence by descent.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
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Lot Essay

‘The bodies in the paintings are repositories of various re-enactments of ideas, some concretely and thoroughly researched while other consist of fleeting memories particularly connected to migrant lives.’
H. Kahraman, interviewed by W. AlKhudairi, Email Exchange, July 5th 2017, Hayv Kahraman, Rizzoli Electa, p. 12.

This early Sumi ink on paper work by Iraqi artist Hayv Kahraman illustrates a group of five Kurdish women bird watching under a tree. The women’s dresses are colourful and vibrant, with each figure wearing a different style of dress referencing Kurdish traditional clothing: bright colours, patterns, wide belts and jewellery. This use of colour, whilst accurate and representative, also creates a strong contrast to the empty background, devoid of landscape or colour, where the tree and birds become dark silhouettes, creating a sense of foreboding.

During that period I was researching Japanese woodprints and what stood out to me was the composition of the figure engulfed by abstract polyhedrons of pattern. It reminded me of the Islamic tessellations I grew up with yet here the patterns submerged the figure. The early works on paper from that period were fueled by a sense of communicating the brutality against women. The formal elements of stark contrasts and empty backgrounds became essential tools to get the point’,
H. Kahraman, interviewed by W. AlKhudhairi, Email Exchange with Hayv Kahraman, July 5th 2017, Hayv Kahraman, Rizzoli Electa, p. 10.

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