Works by Ismail Khayat, known as the “grandfather of Kurdish art” by fans and critics, will go on display in Sharjah next month.
Sharjah Museums Authority’s 12th annual Lasting Impressions exhibition series will explore and shed light on the work of the prominent Iraqi-Kurdish artist.
The exhibition will include more than 100 pieces and will be on show at the museum between October 4 and November 27.
Considered one of the founders of the Kurdish art scene, Khayat’s practice through various mediums uses Kurdish folklore and symbolism to document ideas and narratives of collective struggle, political isolation and calls for peace, as well as other prominent themes and subject matters that took his interest.
During a career spanning nearly six decades, Khayat has been prolific in producing work that combines his imagination, storytelling, lived experiences and observations of the world around him.
From the narrow alleyways and mosques of Baghdad and landscapes and animal life in Sulaymaniyah — the Kurdish region where he spent his childhood — to portraits of women painted in vibrant colours inspired by his mother and wife, Khayat’s practice and range of work is connected through a unique style which sets him apart from his contemporaries.
Khayat’s legacy is nuanced and important to explore: from his influence on the landscape of Iraqi art and exploration of themes connected to his homeland, to his contributions to the Kurdish art scene and his efforts in promoting arts education in the region.
Lasting Impressions is a series that was first launched in 2010 by SMA to highlight the works and careers of prominent and influential artists from the Arab world.
The museum’s previous series featured works by Algerian artist Baya Mahieddine, who was a great influence on Pablo Picasso; Egyptian-French artist George Bahgoury; Palestinian artist and art historian Ismail Shammout; and Emirati artists Abdul Qader Al Rais and Najat Meky.