Art Histories Seminar
Di 10 Dez 2013 | 15:00–17:00

Modernism, Urbanism, and the Politics of Form in Colonial Baghdad

Haytham Bahoora (Art Histories Fellow 2013/14)

Forum Transregionale Studien, Wallotstr. 14, 14193 Berlin

Jawad Salim: Two Boys Eating Melon, 1958.
Jawad Salim: Two Boys Eating Melon, 1958.

In 1951, the Baghdad Group for Modern Art published its first manifesto declaring the necessity of Iraqi artists to mine Iraq’s cultural heritage in the production of modern Arab art. Utilizing elements from Baghdad’s Islamic history and Iraq’s ancient heritage, the development of modernist aesthetic forms, in architecture, painting, sculpture, and poetry, relied on the instrumentalization of vernacular elements. Focusing on the painting and sculpture of Jawad Salim (1920-1961), this paper considers the politics of aesthetic form in the context of the anti-colonial politics and material transformations of 1950s Baghdad, and argues that the use of vernacular elements in the production of aesthetic modernisms was not simply a recycling of tradition, but a constitutive element in the development of colonial modernisms.

Haytham Bahoora, Assistant Professor at University of Colorado, Boulder and current Fellow Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices.

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