In House Art: Iraq
In House Art: Other
Books & Biographies

Ayagallery holds a collection of important artworks not only from Iraq, but also from the Islamic World at large.  This includes the work of prominent artists including Wijdan (Jordan), Mona Saudi (Jordan), Rasheed Butt, Gohar Qalam (Pakistan), Khairat al-Saleh (Syria), Sumayyah Samaha (Lebanon) and Laila Shawa, examples of which are featured below.

Vase: Semi Figure   
Porcelain, underglaze, lustres and gold . 24x12cm 2001 KS 004   

Born in Jerusalem, Khairat Al Saleh is a Syrian/British artist living and working in Syria.  She expresses her passion for Arabic Middle Eastern art through painting, ceramics, print and glass.  An English Literature graduate from Cairo University with a Diploma and MA in English Drama and Poetry from the University of Wales. Before devoting herself to art, she worked as an editor and translator writing poetry in Arabic and English.  'I believe I have invested my works with a kind of contemporaneous ancientness in search for the missing link in the history of Arab Middle Eastern Art.'  She has made detailed studies of Arabic manuscripts and ceramics at the British Museum.  Her style is derived from the art of the book and the art of illustrated manuscripts with its roots in Byzantine, Syriac and Hellenistic traditions which preceded the Islamic era. She has held several art exhibitions in London, Geneva, Holland, Damascus, Jordan and Jeddah.  Her work is found in private and public collections including The Gatt Gallery (Geneva) and the Museum of Ethnology (Holland).

Subtle Geometry in Black & White   
Porcelain, underglaze, lustres and gold   
KS 003  

Israel/Palestine Fence: Homeland    
Watercolour & thread on paper   
SS 001

Lebanese born Sumayyah Samaha has been active in the New York art scene since the late 1970s, where she co-founded 22 Wooster Gallery in 1978.  Her recent work has been inspired by the conflicts engulfing the Middle East; specifically the Palestinian Intifada, U.S. occupation of Iraq and the political unrest consuming Lebanon and has contributed to anti-war exhibits throughout.   In this series of works on the Israel/Palestine Fence, where she integrates words of poetry into the background, Samaha says "I try to convey the humanity of a people with a rich history and a culture that continues to thrive despite the harrowing conditions under which they live. They are writing poetry, making music and singing songs about love, pain and hope".  Her work is in private and public collections world-wide.  She resides in New York.

Israel/Palestine Fence: Shock & Awe    
Watercolour & thread on paper   
SS 002

Born in Amman, Jordan, 1945; Mona Saudi graduated from the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1973 where she studied sculpture. Influenced by the art of Constantin Brancusi, she works predominantly in stone and has created a number of large-scale sculptures for public spaces on display in Paris at the Institut du Monde Arabe and throughout Jordan. She is well known for her early publication of drawings and writings of Palestinian children living in refugee camps in the book: In Time of War: Children Testify (1970). An arts activist, she has organized many international exhibitions in support of Palestine.  Her work has been featured in solo and collective exhibitions and is in private and noteworthy public collections throughout the MiddleEast, Europe and the USA.  She resides in Lebanon.  Inspired by Adonis's Poem: The Petra Tablets, the following work entitled Yed al-Hajar Tersim al Makan (The Hand of Stone Paints the Place) is a collection of 12 prints limited to an edition of 50.  Only two prints from the collection remains available for purchase at ayagallery.  Contact us for further information.

Meditation II
Acrylic & gold leaf on canvas

Born in Gaza in 1940, Laila Shawa graduated summa cum laude in Fine Arts from the Italian Accademia di Belle Arti in 1964 and received a diploma in plastic arts from the Accademia San Giacomo in Rome. From 1965 to 1967 she returned to Gaza to teach arts and crafts to underprivileged children. She now lives and works in London. As a Palestinian artist, Shawa is concerned to reflect the political realities of her country, becoming, in the process, a chronicler of events. Her work is based on a heightened sense of realism and targets injustice and persecution wherever their roots may be. The initial impetus for a piece often comes from her own photographs, which are later transformed by means of silkscreen printing techniques.

Meditation I
Acrylic & gold leaf on canvas

The written word is often present in her work, as in the acclaimed 'Walls of Gaza' series (1994), which focused on the heart-rending messages of hope and resistance spray-painted, in defiance of Israeli censorship, by the ordinary people of Gaza upon the walls of their city. Her work has been exhibited in Italy, Germany, Austria, the UK, in most Arab countries, North Africa, Iraq, Russia, China, Japan, Malaysia and USA. She is represented in public and private collections across the world, including the National Galleries of Jordan and Malaysia, and the British Museum in London.

Tumultuous Cemeteries
Mixed media on paper
W 001 SOLD

In the words of Wijdan "The calligraphic school of art in modern Arab painting is more than a style.  For me it is a form of artistic identity through which I am able to gratify my creative instincts and establish my individuality as a contemporary Arab and Islamic artist.  I believe that the modern calligraphic school is the contemporary continuation of traditional Islamic visual arts.   It has evolved from the art of traditional Arabic calligraphy and developed into a present-day form of expression, drawing on classical heritage while employing modern media and techniques.  It unites the legible value of letters and words with their optic and graphic abstract shapes, allowing me to ascertain my cultural persona as a contemporary Arab painter, within an international artistic framework."

The Stones Must Stay Awake   
Mixed media on hand-made Indian paper
W 002 SOLD

Wijdan was born in Amman, Jordan where she is currently the Dean of the College of Arts and Design, University of Jordan.  She achieved a PhD in Islamic Art, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, London, England, 1993;  MA, Islamic Art, SOAS, University of London, 1990; BA, History, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon, 1961 and was Private training in painting with Armando Prön (Italian) and Muhanna Durra (Jordanian), Amman, 1958-63.  Wijdan is the President and Founder of the Royal Society of Fine Arts, Amman, Jordan and Vice President of the Jordanian Institute of Diplomacy.

The Stories Must Stay Awake
Mixed media on paper
W 003 Not for Sale

Wijdan is a prominent artist, contributor and editor of Contemporary Art from the Islamic World, 1989 and Modern Islamic Art: Development and Continuity, 1997 and contributing editor to Arts & the Islamic World and the Macmillan's Dictionary of Art.  Wijdan has exhibited widely and her work is in private and public collections world-wide.  She lives and works in Amman, Jordan.