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Dia Al-Azzawi

In the mid-sixties, Saadi AIKaabi (b. 1937) introduced the use of aesthetic moods of which abstract components overlapped forming signals of a desert reality. He achieved this by creating a new structure as a material giving the surface of the painting principal
values in the process of building the painting, an approach that, at the time, had not been witnessed by the Iraqi art scene previously.

His abstraction evoked local values that grasped the attention of contemporary viewers
despite their economy of chromatics. With his ventures to enhance the surface of the painting with a mix of rather secret substances, Saadi enriched the subject of the desert in a way that had not been explored by any other Iraqi artist.

This subject has achieved special attention over the commonly prevailing topics related to village scenes, farmers' climates, and other abstractions which have the same global effects. In the beginning of the 1970s, same people with illusionary representations started to crop up every once in a while, and had, soon afterwards, obvious contributions relevant tothe artistic creation, presences one cannot easily overlook. With the deepening of this phenomenon, calligraphic components started to appear in some parts of the painting, and seemed in the beginning to have more of an aesthetic purpose than of an artistic one. Years after, Saadi continued to maintain the same combinations for his colors. He did however try to let his components take their shape from personifying sets, acting as the lifeblood and the starting point of the wandering eye inspecting such shapes.

Several years later, Saadi researched the artistic heritage that pervaded his early
thoughts, and remained partial to creating works with a reductive palette, thus, evoking a rich interpretive power and a wider space for the explanation of his works. At the same time, such an approach brought him distinctiveness in the Iraqi experience.


Dia Al-Azzawi
London, 2010