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Google Doodle pays tribute to Naziha Salim, Iraq’s contemporary artist

She was the first woman to be awarded a scholarship at the esteemed fine art school École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. 

SNS | New Delhi |

On Apr 23, 2022, Google dedicates its homepage to honour Naziha Salim, the most renowned contemporary artist from Iraq. On the same day, in the year 2020, the Barjeel Art Foundation based in the United Arab Emirates acknowledged Ms. Salim, in their reputable collection of female artists. Jalal Talabani, the former President of Iraq once acknowledged her as “the first Iraqi woman who anchored the pillars of Iraqi contemporary art”.

Google has divided its Doodle into two halves, depicting Ms. Salim with her brush on one side and a combination of the subjects of her artwork on the other. 

Naziha Salim was raised in a family of artists. Her father was a painter, her mother was an experienced embroidery artist, and all three of her brothers were immersed in the world of art in their own ways.

Her brother Jawad Salim, is famous as one of Iraq’s most influential sculptors.

Having an affinity for creating her own art since childhood, Ms. Salim pursued a course at the Baghdad Fine Arts Institute to study painting and graduated with a distinction.

She was the first woman to be awarded a scholarship at the esteemed fine art school École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. 

Naziha Salim focused herself honing the fresco technique of making mural paintings while in Paris, after which she spent some more years exploring art and culture abroad.

She had worked and taught at Baghdad’s Fine Arts Institute, where she was a professor until her retirement. Google said that the artist is credited with being one of the founders of Al-Ruwwad, also known as the ‘Avant Garde’ group, “a community of artists that study abroad and incorporate European art techniques into the Iraqi aesthetic”.

Al-Ruwwad was also the pioneering group to go to Europe and bring back techniques to be assimilated into a uniquely Iraqi aesthetic. She also authored the book Salim Iraq: Contemporary Art in 1977, which is to date considered an essential resource to study the blooming of Iraq’s modern art movement.

Today’s doodle artwork, Google said, was “an ode to Salim’s painting style and a celebration of her long-standing contributions to the art world”. MS. Salim’s work is currently showcased at the Sharjah Art Museum and the Modern Art Iraqi Archive, where “one can see the magic she created from dripping brushes and brimmed canvases”.