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Bismillah el Rahman el Rahim - Elfatiha: The Iraqi artist Neziha Selim (Rahimaha Allah) passed away on 15 Feb 2008 in the family home, Waziriya/Adthamia. She had been in an acute state of ill health for about five years. These years coincide with the invasion and occupation of Iraq and so it has been with added humility that her nieces and nephews acknowledge the support that she received while alive and the recognition of her place in the map of Iraqi culture and art expressed at her departure. It is with deep regret that her closest relatives were unable to attend her funeral and burial organised at the behest of the Council of Ministers of the government of Iraq and The Iraqi Artists Society, attended by their representatives, many artists, academicians, students and a large public in Baghdad.

Neziha Selim's art is part of a legacy left along with her late brother's Souad, Nizar and especially Jawad Selim that defined a contemporary Iraqi cultural identity. The largest collection of her paintings was held at the ex-Saddam Centre for contemporary art and all but six works are counted amongst those stolen during the period of looting. It is hoped that these may be located and an archive of her and her brother's works be gathered to facilitate the understanding and continuity of their creative and expressive vision. Plans for a museum dedicated to this legacy housed in the family residence in Waziriya have long been discussed and has the full backing of all remaining family members. It remains to be seen when this can be achieved given the present situation but this must not hinder the wish for and practical steps taken towards what is a significant goal.

It is noted that along with commendable initiative and work by the Ministry of Culture in the upkeep of the house and toward locating and re-establishing Iraq's contemporary art legacy and base there are many concerned with Iraqi visual art including members of the Selim family who hold parts of what we hope can be gathered towards greater benefit.  May Allah bless and rest her soul, may Allah bring peace and victory from oppression and terror to Iraq and may art in all its forms play a role; Inna lilah w inna li ilayhi rajioun.

Neziha Selim leaves behind the children of her brothers:
Riad and Nidhal (Syria) - Rashad Selim
Mahmoud (Finland), Mahasen (Jordan) and Mohammed (UK) - Suad Salim
Zainab and Meriam (UK) - Jewad Selim
Rashad (UK), Raya (Lebanon), Ruba (Germany) and Salim (Qatar) - Nizar Salim
the wives of her brothers; Lorna Selim and Gunhild Baer-Salim.
iNCiA invites those who knew Neziha to
contact us with their tributes.

Extracts from the OBITUARY by Joan Oates published in IRAQ 69 (2007), pp. v-vi, reproduced with permission of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq: 
Tariq Madhloom was the fondly remembered Representative of the Department of Antiquities of Iraq during the British excavations at Nimrud from 1956 to 1958.  His greatest interests were his country and its heritage, and painting. He resented foreigners intensely, but remained forever loyal to his foreign friends. He felt strongly that it was wrong to allow a single antiquity to leave the country, and for that reason could not bear to be present at the 'division of finds' that in those days took place, officially, on sites dug by foreign expeditions. He was to become a well-known and most distinguished painter and sculptor; his enthusiasm for and commitment to painting had already been obvious at Nimrud. His early devotion to the Mallowans and to Nimrud, is touchingly seen in the Nineveh dig house, constructed very much on the Nimrud model.  Tariq Madhloom was born in Baghdad in 1933 and entered the Department of Antiquities after graduating from the College of Arts in 1955. He went on to London where he wrote a PhD under the guidance of Max Mallowan on The Chronological Development of Neo-Assyrian Art, successfully submitted in 1964 and illustrated with his excellent drawings.  It was published in England in 1970 as The Chronology of Neo-Assyrian Art, and is still a very useful and often cited volume.  On his return to Iraq and the Antiquities Department, he was instrumental not only in the restoration of the gates, walls, Sennacherib's throne room and other monuments at Nineveh, but in protecting the site from developers, at one time (backed by a letter from Faisal Al-Wailly, Director-General of Antiquities, to the then President, Abdul Rahman Aref, and pressure also from the distinguished architect, Dr Mohammed Makiya) literally stopping the threatening bulldozers in their tracks. He was also responsible for digging up the main road to the north, without permission, in his determination to complete the plan of the now restored Mashki Gate. Regular reports on his work at Nineveh between 1965 and 1970 were published in Sumer 23, 24 and 25 and in two monographs on the site in the series Historical Monuments in Iraq 1 (1972, in Arabic) and 4 (1976, in English).  Tariq was responsible for the excavation of a number of archaeological sites: Parthian Tell Abu Thar in 1957 (published in Sumer 15 in 1959), Sumerian Tell al-Wilayah (Sumer 16, 1960), Islamic Bakr-Awa (Sumer 21, 1965), and for archaeological surveys in the Suleimaniyah region (Sumer 26, 1970). In 1973 he also excavated in the region of Mleiha in Sharja UAE (Sumer 29, 1973), carried out restoration work at Ctesiphon (8 years), Ashur (2 years) and at other sites (Sumer 27, 34, 35 and 42). He contributed to an article on the Bassetki statue base (Sumer 32).  In addition to his position at the Antiquities Department, in 1967 Tariq joined the Faculty of Archaeology, College of Arts, at Baghdad University, first as a lecturer, and then as a professor.  He taught a number of students and supervised PhDs at the University, not only in the College of Arts, but also at the Academy of Fine Art ( later College of Fine Arts), and at the College of Engineering. In 1979, he became Head of the Heritage Division of the State Organisation of Antiquities and Heritage and the second director of the ICCROM regional centre set up by UNESCO in Baghdad for the preservation of cultural heritage. He contributed a chapter (on the training of conservators) to a manual entitled Training, produced in 1993 by ICOMOS (International Council of Monuments and Sites). His work on mud brick in Assyrian buildings is cited in Earth Architecture - Bibliography (published by ICOMOS in 2004). He also wrote a book on Assyrian designs (published in Arabic in 1979) that was translated into English and French.  Altogether, he published more than 50 articles on excavation, restoration, history and art. Tariq's increasing involvement in the art world led him to transfer in 1993 to the Fine Art Academy, where he continued his interest in teaching, restoration and painting, but focused on sculpture. I remember most clearly a striking bust of a distinguished Iraqi doctor and his prizewinning design for a bronze sculpture erected on the Shatt al-Arab in Basra to celebrate the end of the Iraq-Iran war; a sculpture of ''Al-Sharq'', a clever play on the Arabic word for ''east'' and the English ''shark''.  It was with the greatest sorrow that we learnt of his death in Baghdad on 24 January 2007. He will be sadly missed by all his foreign and Iraqi friends, and we send our deepest sympathy to his wife and children. He was a charming man, something of an Assyrian bull at times, but always driven by an intense love and loyalty to his country and its art.  Joan OATES
Painting by Tariq Madhloom: Nimrud 1956

Born Baghdad, Iraq, 1935.  Diploma Ceramics, IFA, 1959; BA Ceramics, Central School of Art and Design, London, 1961; Harrow College, 1964.  Awards: Honorary Award, British Cultural Week, London; Honorary  Award, Iraqi Ministry of Information; Silver Jubilee Prize, UIA, 1956-81.  Memberships: SIPA, since 1959; Crafts Potters Association, London, UK, 1964; International Ceramist Academy, Switzerland, since 1963; IAA/AIAP (UNESCO), since 1990. Artwork is numerous private and public collections including: Reading Museum, UK; Gorgel College, Cambridge; SAC; National Museums of Modern Art, Iraq, Amman and Qatar as well as the United Nations Museum, USSR. Returned to Iraq in 1966 where he continues to live and work as a teacher of ceramics at IFA.

Born Samawa, Iraq, 1925.  Degree Social Science, Higher Institute of Teachers, Baghdad, 1948; Diploma Painting, Institute of Fine Arts, 1954.  Studied at the Acadamie Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1955-9.  Participated in the formation of BGMA, 1951 in which he was a prominent and active member as well as The One Dimension, 1971.  Taught History of Art at the IFA, 1970-80.  Headed the Department of Aesthetic Studies, Ministry of Culture and Information, 1980-3.  Dedicated much of his time to research and published widely, with studies on the history of Iraqi art; Islamic heritage; critical essays and articles in Iraqi and Arab periodicals.  Awards: National Appreciation Prize, Cagne-sur-Mer International Festival, France, 1975; First Prize, International Festival, Baghdad, 1986, 81; SIPA and UIA Honorary Achievement Awards, 1987; Saddam Prize for Arts, 1986.  Artwork in private and public collections including: SAC; Baghdad International Airport; NMMA; Shoman Foundation, Amman; Ghazi Sultan Hall, Kuwait; Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris.  Participated in numerous group exhibitions including: 1998 Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris . Seven Artists, Shoman Foundation, Amman . 1988 Jointly with Ali Talib and Amer al-Obaidi, Kuwait . 1986 Sixth Triennial, New Delhi, India . 1981 Gulf Artists, Paris . 1979 Fifth International Biennial, So Paolo, Brazil . 1976 Venice Biennial, Italy . 1975 Cagne-sur-Mer International Festival, France . 1962 Joint show with Mohammed Ghani Hikmet, Baghdad . 1955 Bin Sina Gallery, Baghdad . 1953 Contemporary Iraqi Art tour: India . 1951 BGMA, Baghdad and held several solo-exhibitions including: 1992 Shoman Foundation, Amman . 1987     SAC . 1986 War and Peace, Baghdad Gallery, Baghdad . 1985, 83 Al-Riwaq Gallery, Baghdad . 1981 Sultan Gallery, Kuwait . 1980 CIA tour: Kuwait; Lebanon; France; Cultural Centre, Baghdad . 1978 Al-Wasiti Gallery, Baghdad . 1977, 66 NMMA . 1976 Iraqi Cultural Centre, London . 1974 Sarraf Gallery, Baghdad . 1962 IFA.  Died in Baghdad 2004.

The artist Nuha al-Radi passed away on 31 August 2004
In tribute, her cousin Ayad Abbas (Abu Dhabi) writes: Miss Nuha Mohamed Saleem Al Radi; Nuha al-Radi passed away on Tuesday 31 August 2004 in Beirut, Lebanon, from Leukaemia.  A humanitarian, a professional, a friend of many, a caring person, an artist, a true Iraqi, and a lady who loved life, enjoyed it and helped to protect, promote and share it. She loved colours, animals, land, Iraq and the world.  Nuha was a true internationalist and carried many flags in her identity that were portrayed in her writings, pottery and ceramics.  She was a phenomenon that intrigued newspapers like the Sunday Times, New York Times and important others.  She worked with the late Dr. Edward Said as she did with other prominent writers, play writers and artists.  She had many exhibitions world over and her works are housed in some of the most prestigious art institutions including the British Museum.

The following is an extract from her writing regarding the war on Iraq: "I am a potter, sculptor and a painter. I try to visualise things. Right now I am in Pakistan preparing for an exhibition. One of the journalists interviewing me asked me why my work did not depict Iraq - the million children dead, the results of 12 years sanctions, the damage left behind with the depleted uranium etc. During the first Gulf War I was in Baghdad and wrote a diary that was published. It was just every day life under bombardment, which later became just living and trying to mind one's own business. I wished then that something could happen to the US, and now 12 years later a repeat is about to take place, on a now weak and battered nation, 22 million people trying to mind their business and live their lives.  A dictatorship within is to be replaced by a military occupation from outside. We already know how much (and how little) care is given later to helping put right the damage done. How can we hope for a different reality?" 

The artist Ismail Fattah passed away ila Rahmat Allah on 22 July 2004

The following is a tribute written by Michael Penn of The University of Kitakyushu, Japan.

The Death of Ismail Fattah al-Turk

On 22 July 2004, the great Iraqi artist Ismail Fattah al-Turk, felt that he was soon to lose his battle with cancer. He had been in Abu Dhabi receiving treatment, but his one great wish was to die in Baghdad. His family was able to arrange a chartered flight, and he in fact returned home.  About one hour later he died. He thus achieved his final wish to die in Baghdad, a city whose modern face he himself had helped to shape.

Ismail Fattah al-Turk was born in Basra in 1938, but soon migrated to Baghdad for his higher education. He enrolled in Baghdad's Institute of Fine Arts and received his degrees in Painting in 1956 and in Sculpture in 1958. Thereafter, he moved to Italy to continue his education, receiving his degree in Sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome in 1963.

By the time he returned to Baghdad that same year, he was already among the most prominent of young Iraqi artists, having received prizes for his work in Italy.  Throughout his career, Ismail Fattah divided his efforts between painting and sculpture. However, it is probably fair to say that it is his sculpture that established his public reputation. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he received commissions to make statues of prominent Iraqi cultural figures in various public squares in Baghdad. Among these works were his statues of Al-Rasafi, Al-Kadhimi, Al-Wasiti, and Abu Nuwas. His style in these early works tended toward Realism.  Buland al-Haidari, the late Iraqi poet, praised Ismail Fattah's early work noting that the motion in al-Wasiti's statue is the outcome of a scrupulous study and shows the great expression and execution ability of the sculptor which came out very early in the transparency he has endowed the statue with, such as the foldings of the dress and the dangling of the book.

Furthermore, Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, the late Palestinian art critic and novelist, remarked that this beautiful statue of the great Abbasid poet Abu Nuwas may look like a Gothic Christ, but he knows it. He knows his bronzes owe more to modern sculpture than to Sumer or Assyria. To him this is a technical point which is no cause for worry as long as he can express his Iraqi themes in a manner related to the present. If his style, which has its emphatic qualities, derives from contemporary sculpture, his confidence may lie in the fact that sculpture in our time derives from a vast mixture of cultures mostly medieval or ancient, and especially Middle Eastern anyway.  Although Ismail Fattah's early statues have adorned several squares in Baghdad, the work he will probably always be best known for is the magnificent Martyrs's Monument of 1983: 

Building the Martyr's Monument is said to have cost the Iraqi treasury about $250 million, even while the Iran-Iraq War was in its early stages.  The construction itself was carried out by Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation, working closely with the artist and many other consultants. In terms of its design, UR Magazine noted in 1981 that its forms and proportions are adopted from the Iraqi domes, and the partition and the aperture reflect the open and spiritual link with the Divine.  During his long reign, Saddam Hussain spent a great deal of time and money on building huge monuments, as is well known. However, it is probably a fact that among these great monuments, the Martyrs's Monument is the one destined to be regarded as a work of art that far transcended the purposes of the regime to become a broadly Iraqi national achievement. The English sculptor Kenneth Armitage was famously said to have hugged Ismail Fattah in a fit of enthusiasm when he first laid eyes on the Monument. The Art in America magazine deemed it the most beautiful design in the Middle East in 1986. Now that the former regime has fallen, it is likely to be reinterpreted and continue to be honoured as an Iraqi national treasure.  While as a sculptor Ismail Fattah was known for Realism, especially in his early work, his painting could be quite abstract. As a painter, he mainly dealt with human figures, often a man and a woman, that imparted a sense of fragmentation and isolation.  http://www.middleeastuk.com/culture/art/sothebys/gallery32.htm
(A 1988 'Man and Woman' Painting by Ismail Fattah) Viewing his paintings in London in 1988, the late British art critic Max Wykes-Joyce wrote about Ismail Fattah as follows: Altogether too many Arab artists, well-known and well-considered in their own countries, allow their 'Arabism' to overcome their individual ways of seeing and knowing. While others, who have studied art in some other land, end up as pallid imitators of their foreign teachers but his figurations have an authority and an international imagery peculiarly his own. The death of Ismail Fattah al-Turk is certainly a blow to the Iraqi art world, especially as it follows so soon upon the death of Shakir Hassan al-Said, a major Iraqi painter, in March of this year.  Nevertheless, it is certain that future generations of artists will draw inspiration from Ismail Fattah's achievement, because his beloved Baghdad will forever be a different place that he lived.  Michael Penn, The University of Kitakyushu, 28 July 2004

The artist Saleh al-Qaraghulli passed away ila Rahmat Allah in Baghdad on 6 August 2003.

Born Baghdad, 1933.  BA Sculpture, IFA, 1954 and MA Sculpture, École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris,1960.  Was invited to teach at the University of Boitiay, but he refused, preferring to return to Iraq, where he taught at IFA as well as AFA.  The day of 6 August 2003 was his last day of work at the College of Fine Arts.  It was also the day he died, lonely in his home, without the attention of anyone.