Winter 2010
January 2010

Under the patronage of
HE Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa

Iraq: Two Faces
Faisel Laibi Sahi
Modhir Ahmed

5 January 2010

Albareh Gallery Bahrain
WITH THE LINGERING vacuum of the recession from last year, there was a familiar traffic on the streets of Adliya on the evening of January 5, when Albareh Gallery opened the new decade’s art season with “Iraq: Two Faces.”

The exhibition was opened by HE Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, a leading Bahraini artist and patron of the arts.

Together with some notable GCC and local collectors, the show also attracted seasoned contemporaries from Bahrain, Europe and the Middle East.

For Faisel Laibi Sahi and Modhir Ahmed, language is an imperfect and inadequate tool of communication, therefore the show was aimed to redefine the world view on Iraqi tradition, modernism and the avant-garde, it was an enchanting depiction of the present with echoes from the past and reflects the artists’ understanding of the cultural premises on which they are currently based, thus fittingly summarizing the intellectual endeavour of “Iraq: Two Faces” as a whole.


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October 2010
About Faisel Laibi Sahi

Faisel Laibi Sahi or simply known as Faisel Laibi is an Iraqi artist from Basra born in 1947, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad in the late sixties, with further studies at the École supérieure des beaux-arts and the Université de la Sorbonne in Paris. After living for almost 30 years in Europe, Faisel Laibi continually enriches his understanding of Iraq’s unique and rich cultural heritage from the Pre-Islamic Mesopotamian civilisations of Sumer, Babylon and Assyria. His paintings and drawings express his keen sense of historical identity far beyond any patriotic attachment to his homeland, this painting has become a symbol for many Iraqis. The painting Coffee Shop in Baghdad (1984) is an emblematic representation of Iraqi society in a period of relative stabilisation. Faisel Laibi Sahi lives and works in London.

About Modhir Ahmed

Iraqi-Swedish artist Modhir Ahmed's work is easily recognised for his transposition of utilitarian materials that stretches the contextual boundaries of art to accommodate conceptual formulas in contemporary printmaking, painting, digital art and installation.

Modhir Ahmed first gained international recognition in the early 90s for providing Sweden's answer to visual arts as he represented his host country with flying colours in international competitions in graphic arts.

Given the generous, sublime pictorial ambition and intelligent nature of his art, so clearly demonstrated on his first solo show in Sweden at The Museum of Art, Gothenburg in 1992, he achieved a path to get through the superficiality of emotive painting to something more direct and spontaneous.

His artistic evolution is impossible to understand without taking to account the three countries where he lived and studied arts, the international awards he won, literatures written about him and the many works of art this Alfred Noble art scholar has produced.  

Crucial to Modhir's best work is the graphic immediacy, a reliance on painting and a mastery of the mediums, whether it be acrylic, oil crayons or pencil on top of the under laying wood-cut. A distinctive image hybrid he has cultivated for a decade maintaining a coherent sense of personal identity.

With a subtle use of Neo-plasticist compositional ploys along with images, he creates a pulse of colour - a modernist reliance on fixed elements - rectangles of pure colour resulting in a flatland of geometric form.

The lavish source of complexity in Modhir’s multi-medium painting is a delicate balance between recognition and un-recognition, figuration and abstraction - a convergence of fascinating beautiful irresolvable elements with a harmonious interplay of components that creates a tightly structured yet eternally restless painting - a dissonance that only heightens the painting's appeal.