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Afifa Aleiby Timeless Echoes

Zawyeh Gallery - February - May 2023 - Dubai

26 February - 8 May 2023
Opening: Sunday 26 February, 11am - 7pm
Zawyeh Gallery, Dubai


In Timeless Echoes, renowned Iraqi artist Afifa Aleiby presents her most recent work, echoing her own life and tackling multiple societal and humane subjects. Her paintings are poetic, with a unique quality of beauty mixed with the intensity of emotions. They are dominated by women: strong, fragile, happy, or miserable. Part of her work emits feelings of uneasiness, where women are presented in the form of monuments; white, motionless, and sad: broken in half like a statue; playing flute in the darkness; dressed in black hugging her daughter with a dark war background. Another section reflects happiness and contentment: A woman fast asleep holding her wide awake baby; another standing by a windowsill holding a flower as if waiting for a lover; a woman enjoying a sunny day in nature with warm settings.

Women appear elegantly despite the subject of the work, even if the artist is reflecting on the reality of being a woman in a harsh society or presenting a scene from the war. There is a certain kind of beauty and serenity that envelopes their existence on Aleiby’s canvas. Her works are poetic, yet they are a mixture of realism and symbolism, with surreal quality at a time.

The variety of subjects she tackles expresses her life and own experience. Nada Shabout, the Iraqi renown art historian, notes: “At first glance, Afifa’s work rattles the viewer with its intimacy. One cannot escape the uneasiness of entering a personal space. Afifa’s vibrant colors and the elegant lines of her figures are self-reflective. In response to her physical displacements, the space of the painting becomes her ultimate home.”