Madiha Omar
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Madiha Omar
Madiha Umar
Born

1908
Died2005
NationalityIraqi
EducationSultaniyya School, Istanbul; Maria Grey Training College, London; George Washington University, Washington (education); Corcoran School of Art, Washington (fine arts)
Known forAbstract art, Modern Arab art
Notable work
Madiha Umar Estate Collection under responsibility of Dara Kittani, her grandson www.madihaumar.com
MovementOne Dimension Group; Hurufiyya movement
Yasin Umar

Madiha Umar (1908 – 2005 in Aleppo) (Arabic: ‎) is an Iraqi artist who is known for incorporating calligraphy with abstract art. She is generally perceived as the first Arab artist to have done this.[1] Therefore, she is seen as the precursor to the Hurufiyya movement. Also, Umar was the first female to receive a scholarship from the Iraqi government to study in Europe.[2] Today her grandson Dara Kittani manages her Estate Collection. To see more about Madiha Umar go to her official website www.madihaumar.com

Life and career

Madiha Umar was born in Aleppo, Syria. Her father Circassian and her mother Syrian.[3] However, the family moved to Iraqi when she was a young girl.[3] Umar attended the Sultaniyya School in Istanbul, where she drew praise from Ali Riza for her painting skills.[4] She then trained as a teacher at the Maria Grey Training College in London in the 1930s, graduating with First class honours in Arts and Crafts in 1933. She then taught painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad, becoming head of department before leaving in 1942.[5] She became a naturalised Iraqi.[6]

In 1939 she married Yasin Umar, a diplomat.[3] In 1942 she moved to Washington, to accompany her husband, whose appointment as a member of the Iraqi Commission took him to the capital.[4] In the US, she came across a book on Arabic calligraphy by Islamic scholar, Nabia Abbott and this inspired her to explore the possibilities of incorporating letters into her arwork.[7]

She first began to explore the idea of integrating Arabic letters into painting in the 1940s and in 1949, with the encouragement of art historian, Richard Ettinghausen, she exhibited a series of 22 hurufist-inspired paintings at Georgetown Public Library in Washington. For this, she generally earns the reputation as the first Arab artist of the modern era to have incorporated Arabic letters into her art, and the first artist to have exhibited such works.[8] Later in the same year, she wrote the book, Arabic Calligraphy: An Element of Inspiration in Abstract Art.

In 1952, Umar participated in the Ibn Sina exhibition, held at the Art Institute in Baghdad with 48 paintings, all of which employed Arabic letters in a modern, secular artwork. This event brought her work to the attention of Middle-Eastern artists.[6] She has been variously acclaimed as the pioneer of a movement or as the precursor to the movement that now carries the name, Huryfiyya art movement.[9]

She studied education at the George Washington University; then studied fine arts at the Corcoran School of Art,[10] graduating in 1952 and received a MFA in 1959.[11]

In 1971 she joined the One Dimension Group founded by Shakir Hassan Al Said;[12] a group that sought to synthesise indigenous art with European trends and successfully bridged the gap between heritage and modernity.[13]

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ "British Museum". Retrieved .
  2. ^ "Meem Gallery". Retrieved .
  3. ^ a b c Oweis, Fayeq (2008). Encyclopedia of Arab American Artists. ABC-CLIO. p. 255. ISBN 9780313337307. Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ a b Dagher, Charles; Mahmoud, Samir (2016). Arabic Hurufiyya: Art and Identity. Milan: Skira Editore. ISBN 978-8857231518.
  5. ^ Treichl, C., Art and Language: Explorations in (Post) Modern Thought and Visual Culture, Kassel University Press, 2017, p.
  6. ^ a b Nusair, I., "The Cultural Costs of the 2003 US-Led Invasion of Iraq: A Conversation with Art Historian Nada Shabout," Feminist Studies, Vol. 39, No. 1 (2013), p. 128 Online:
  7. ^ Ali, W., Modern Islamic Art: Development and Continuity, University of Florida Press, 1997, p. 117
  8. ^ Treichl, C., Art and Language: Explorations in (Post) Modern Thought and Visual Culture, Kassel University Press, 2017, pp. 115-119.
  9. ^ Anima Gallery, "Madiha Omar," [Biographical Notes], Online: https://www.meemartgallery.com/art_resources.php?id=89; Mavrakis, N., "The Hurufiyah Art Movement in Middle Eastern Art," McGill Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Blog, Online: https://mjmes.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/article-5/;Tuohy, A. and Masters, C., A-Z Great Modern Artists, Hachette UK, 2015, p. 56; Dadi. I., "Ibrahim El Salahi and Calligraphic Modernism in a Comparative Perspective," South Atlantic Quarterly, 109 (3), 2010 pp 555-576, DOI:https://doi.org/10.121500382876-2010-006
  10. ^ Treichl, C., Art and Language: Explorations in (Post) Modern Thought and Visual Culture, Kassel University Press, 2017, p. 117.
  11. ^ "Bonhams: Madiha Omar (Syria, 1908-2005)". www.bonhams.com. Retrieved 2018.
  12. ^ Lack, Jessica (2017). Why Are We 'Artists'?: 100 World Art Manifestos. Penguin UK. ISBN 9780241236338. Retrieved 2018.
  13. ^ Al-Ali, N. and Al-Najjar, D., We Are Iraqis: Aesthetics and Politics in a Time of War, Syracuse University Press, 2013, p. 22; Lindgren, A. and Ross, S., The Modernist World, Routledge, 2015, p. 495; Mavrakis, N., "The Hurufiyah Art Movement in Middle Eastern Art," McGill Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Blog, Online: https://mjmes.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/article-5/; Tuohy, A. and Masters, C., A-Z Great Modern Artists, Hachette UK, 2015, p. 56; Shabout, N.,"Shakir Hassan Al Said: Time and Space in the Work of the Iraqi Artist - A Journey Towards One Dimension," Nafas Art Magazine, May, 2008, Online:

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