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Hayv Kahraman

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Lives in


sumi, ink, acrylic, watercolour, figurative

Upcoming Exhibitions and Events
Current Exhibitions and Events

Born in a land that is ironically the cradle of civilization and presently the ultimate embodiment of human degradation, Iraq, I have of necessity inherited a host of issues that find expression in my work. Female oppression, honor killings and war continue to claim my attention. Filled with desire, I paint for redemption and salvation, hoping one day humanity will witness a profound change.

Technically I work with oils on unprimed linen canvas that I prepare myself insuring the quality and durability in each step from mounting to finish. Using distinct two-dimensional tones of vibrant color covered with detailed designs my figures, mainly female, appear as transformed beings with prominent timeworn eyes dwelling in an ambiguous existence of despair

The semi realistically rendered figures with elongated necks represent an archetypical image of the swan. Graceful and elegant, they move through the landscapes of horror facing the calamities of male dominance. Where suffering is great, so is the need for transcendence.

Through an inherent childlike innocence in movement and form, in contrast with the harsh reality of war, these highly figurative yet two-dimensional personas represent the dichotomy of agony and gaiety, the duality of dreams and reality, peace and war. These surreal documentations of truth are the essence of my creative representation.

Sweeping the audience into the eyes of my characters while simultaneously inversing the scene into a celebration of the various cultures in our world, I endeavor to refocus the felt pain into an investment in the human capability to overcome and prevail.

Hayv Kahraman was born in Baghdad, 1981 and currently lives and works in the US. She is a graduate of the Academia di Arte e Design di Firenze, Italy.

Working mainly in oils, Kahraman focuses on qualities of line, depth and detail. Using two-dimensional tones of vibrant color and semi realistic renderings of her swan-like figures, she challenges issues of gender, honor killings and war.
Harmonizing references from Japanese art, Islamic art, and Italian masters, Kahraman offers an aesthetic awareness that honors diversity and offers the possibility of redemption and empowerment.

Her most recent solo exhibition was Volta NY solo art fair. Recent group shows include; a two person show with Thierry Goldberg gallery NY; "Unveiled: New art from the Middle east" with the Saatchi gallery in Chelsea, London; "Life Drawing" The Third Line Gallery Dubai; and “Local Produce” Lisa Sette gallery in Arizona.

May 6-June 13 2010

solo show, Frey Norris, San Francisco

Nov 5 - Jan 17 2009

Taswir – Pictorial Mappings of Islam of Modernity
group show, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin

Oct 8-Nov 15 2009

Echo: Eight San Francisco artists respond to surrealist masterwork
group show, Frey Norris, San Francisco

June 26-july 25 2009

Balla Drama
group show, Paradise Row Gallery, London

May 6-June 13 2009

solo show, The Third Line Gallery, Doha

March 18-21 2009

dubai, U.A.E

March 16-May 16 2009

Sharjah, U.A.E

March 5-8 2009

solo art fair, New York

Jan 30-May 6 2009

UNVEILED: New art from the middle east
group show, Saatchi gallery, Chelsea London

Recent Exhibits

Hayv Kahraman participated in these exhibits:

Feb, 2015 How Iraqi Are You?
Jack Shainman Gallery 20th Street
Jack Shainman Gallery 20th Street
Jan, 2014 Neighbours – Contemporary Narratives from Turkey and Beyond
Istanbul Museum of Modern Art
Sep, 2013 Let the Guest be the Master
Jack Shainman Gallery 20th Street
May, 2013 SILK
Highlight Gallery
Oct, 2012 Extimacy
The Third Line
Click here to see all exhibits for Hayv Kahraman
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