In the Iraqi modern art scene, Naziha Salim was one of the most important painters and a professor of painting.
There is little doubt that Naziha Salim was one of Iraq’s most prominent modern painters in the country. Often her art represents rural Iraqi ladies and peasant life with rich colours and powerful brush strokes The Barjeel Art Foundation included Naziha Salim in their collection of female artists on this day in 2020.
Salim was born into a family of Iraqi painters in Turkey to paint the landscape. Her mother was an accomplished embroider and her father was a painter. One of Iraq’s most renowned sculptors, Jawad, was among her three brothers who engaged in the arts. She has a natural talent for creating her own works of art from a young age.
At the Baghdad Fine Arts Institute, Salim studied painting and achieved a high degree of achievement in her field. She was one of the first women to be offered a scholarship at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris for her dedication and love of painting. Salim concentrated on fresco and mural painting while in Paris. After graduating from college, she spent many more years travelling the world, immersing herself in the arts and cultures of other countries.
The Fine Arts Institute, where Salim taught until she retired, finally lured her back to Baghdad. One of Iraq’s first chapters of Al-Ruwwad, a group of Iraqi artists dedicated to learning about and incorporating European art methods into Iraqi aesthetics, was founded by her. Her book Iraq: Contemporary Art was crucial in the early establishment of Iraq’s contemporary art movement later in her career.
The Sharjah Art Museum and the Modern Art Iraqi Archive display Naziha Salim’s work. You can see the beauty she made with gushing brushes and brimming canvases there.