This auction opens a wide-ranging window on Iraqi art. It brings together 25 artworks with a wide variety of styles. These works by modern and contemporary Iraqi artists highlight a small section of a rich artistic trajectory from the mid twentieth century till today.
Iraqi art in post colonial times focused on the collective Iraqi identity and the visual symbols connected to this identity. The Baghdad Group for Modern Art founded by Jewad Selim and Shakir Hassan Al Said in 1951 developed the concept of istilham al-turath (seeking inspiration from heritage). This engagement with heritage intertwined with the quest for European modernism contributed to the formation of modern Iraqi art whether though traditional symbolism or abstracted cultural visuals.In the 1960 s, in parallel with new artistic movements in the West, Iraqi art turned towards new aesthetics with a transnational twist. The new vision group was founded in 1968 and set ground for the next generations of artists to date. This period was marked by vital creativity and the development of new styles that were more universal, while still very tied to Iraqi and Arab culture hence a spectrum of new visual icons emerged.During the period of isolation from the rest of the world 1980-2003 Iraqi artists who stayed behind were literally in a cultural isolation. This led to the development of new Iraqi traditional aesthetics as shown by most of the works presented in this auction. Artists who were exiled internalized their heritage and history and carried the torch of their homeland, while riding the waves of contemporary art movements