Born in Iraq in 1981, Hayv Kahraman currently lives and works in Los Angeles. Fleeing Baghdad at age eleven, she relocated to Sweden with her family and the refugee experience became a catalyst for her practice. Kahraman studied graphic design in Italy at the Accademia di arte e design di Firenze in 2005. Kahraman’s technically diverse practice includes painting, drawing, object-making and performance. Her semi-autobiographical works have a strong focus on the migrant experience and violence against women, with references to the Italian Renaissance, Japanese woodcuts and Iraqi architecture. Kahraman has a fascination with geometry and symmetry, incorporating abstract patterns into her work.
Though gender and identity are consistent themes within Kahraman’s work, her practice is ever evolving in style and technique. Recent painted works have seen the artist experiment with the manipulation of the canvas itself. This sculptural element is reminiscent of the traditional Iraqi method of weaving ‘Mahaffa’, a type of handheld fan and speaks to the artist’s memories of childhood. Examining the marginal spaces of diasporic life, the artist looks to contest and renegotiate boundaries found in the social and political third space between Western and Middle Eastern culture. Kahraman uses her singular visual vocabulary to portray the migrant experience, one that lacks constancy while embracing multiplicity. Kahraman uses the beauty of her paintings to tell horrifically brutal tales, particularly those of women victimized within their own culture. Repeating female imagery over and over allows her to build an army of women, to restore their agency as a collective so that it may be felt individually. Using the body as the last remaining site of resistance, the artist reclaims control of the female form.
Recent solo exhibitions include;Hayv Kahraman: The touch of Otherness, Vielmetter Los Angeles, USA (2021); Not Quite Human: Second Iteration, Pilar Corrias Gallery, London, UK (2020); Hayv Kahraman: Superfluous Bodies, Honolulu Museum of Art, Hawaii, USA (2019); To the Land of the Waqwaq, Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Hawaii, USA(2019); Silence is Gold, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Los Angeles, USA (2018); Acts of Reparation, Contemporary Art Museum, St Louis, USA (2017); Hayv Kahraman, The Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, USA (2016); Audible Inaudible, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2016); How Iraqi are You?, Jack Shainman, New York, USA (2015); Extimacy, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2013); Pins and Needles, The Third Line, Dubai (2010); Waraq, Frey Norris, San Francisco, USA (2010); Seven Gates, Green Cardamom, London (2010).
Selected group exhibitions include; Reflections contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa, The British Museum, London, UK (2021); There Is Fiction In The Space Between, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2020); 100 Masterpieces of Modern and Contemporary Arab Art, The Barjeel Collection, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France (2017); Thessaloniki Biennial 5, Thessaloniki, Greece (2015); Neighbors: Contemporary Narratives from Turkey and Beyond, The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Istanbul, Turkey (2014); CONTEMPORARY: Architecture, Culture and Identity, Louisiana Museum of Modern, Humlebaek, Denmark (2013); Jameel Prize Tour, San Antonio Museum of Art, USA (2013) and The Victoria & Albert Museum, London (2011); Jameel Prize Tour, Museum of Fine Art, Houston, USA (2012); Disquieting Muses, Contemporary Art Center of Thessaloniki, State Museum of Contemporary Art, Greece (2011); Of Women’s Modesty and Anger, Villa Empain Center for the Arts, Brussels (2011).
Her work is featured in various international collections including the San Diego Museum of Art, CA, USA; Birmingham Museum of Art, AL, USA; The Rubell Family Collection, Miami, USA; The Saatchi Gallery, London, UK; The Barjeel Art Foundation Sharjah, UAE; MATHAF: Arab Museum of Modern Art Doha, Qatar; Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, Ohio, USA; North Carolina; Museum of Art, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.
Kahraman lives and works in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
- Untitled, 2020
- Untitled, 2020
- Peek a Boob 2, 2017
- Identification (Facial Hair), 2016
- Search (Ask one prisoner to come close to translate for another), 2016
- Would You Like to Play 1, 2016
- Her Name Is Gun, 2015
- How Iraqi Are You?, 2015
- Frieze London, 2015
- Hussein Pasha Drawing, 2014
- Quasi-Corporeal, 2012
- Anthropometric Front and Back, 2011
THERE IS FICTION IN THE SPACE BETWEEN23 Mar - 30 Jul 2020The Third Line is pleased to present There Is Fiction In The Space Between , a group exhibition celebrating the gallery’s fifteenth anniversary. This exhibition draws on the breadth of...
I WILL SEE IT, WHEN I BELIEVE IT15 May - 27 Jul 2019The Third Line is pleased to present its summer exhibition I Will See It, When I Believe It, with works by Abbas Akhavan, Farhad Moshiri, Hayv Kahraman, Laleh Khorramian, Rana...
AUDIBLE INAUDIBLEHayv Kahraman 18 Sep - 22 Oct 2016The Third Line is pleased to present Audible Inaudible, Hayv Kahraman’s fourth solo show in Dubai. Hayv returns with a new body of works on linen, wood and paper through...
San José Museum of Art Announces 86 New Acquisitions by 27 ArtistsArtfixDaily, August 11, 2021
Women Artists of the Middle East and South Asia Are Reinventing Miniature PaintingOsman Can Yerebakan, Artsy, June 14, 2021
The British Museum Shares Its Reflections on Modern Art in The MENA RegionAl Bawaba, June 13, 2021
Hayv Kahraman’s The touch of Otherness at Vielmetter Los AngelesLita Barrie, Whitehot Magazine, March 1, 2021
Timelines and topographies step up at The Third Line showMuhammad Yusuf, Gulf Today, December 29, 2020
Hayv Kahraman’s “Audible Inaudible”Melissa Gronlund, art-agenda, September 18, 2018
Review: Hayv Kahraman’s paintings of decorous Kurdish women short-circuit stereotypical images of IraqSharon Mizota, Los Angeles Times, September 17, 2018
Hayv Kahraman. Acts of ReparationWall Street International Magazine, August 15, 2017
The Many Women of HayvCanvas Magazine, June 12, 2017
Hayv Kahraman: ‘How Iraqi Are You?’Roberta Smith, The New York Times, March 26, 2015
Beyond the White Cube: The Rich Mosaic of Hayv Kahraman's Art and LifeYasmine Mohseni, HuffPost, March 22, 2012