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Solo exhibition of new work by the Iraqi-Kurdish artist Walid Siti opens at Taymour Grahne Gallery
Deconstructed Pyramid, 2013, Straw, Clay and Acrylic on MDF, 15.7h x 15.7w x 15.7d in / 40h x 40w x 40d cm / Courtesy of Walid Siti and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York, NY.
NEW YORK, NY.- Taymour Grahne Gallery presents Parallel Realms, a solo exhibition of new work by the Iraqi-Kurdish artist Walid Siti, including paintings, works on paper, and a large-scale site-specific installation. The impetus behind Siti’s work emerges from his preoccupation with the ongoing process of transformation in the Middle East due to politics and war, a theme that has influenced and shaped his art as well as his life.

Throughout this series, metaphorical mountains, pyramids, Ziggurats and ladders—fundamental figures of Kurdish folklore—continue to form essential parts of Siti’s visual vocabulary. The deconstruction of structures in Siti’s work conveys a shift from historical cultural tradition and symbolism towards more complex contemporary forms. These elements offer an allegory for dislocation and disorientation in a fragile and troubled landscape, reflecting the impact of rapid social transformation, shifting power structures, and the uncertainty of the future.

As Lynn MacRitchie writes in her essay for the exhibition’s catalogue, “The work of Walid Siti traverses a complex terrain of memory and loss, while at the same time offering an acute insight into a world which for him has been a place of constant change. Used to change, Siti moves with it, demonstrating its effects with delicacy, wit and an underlying sadness, as his own sense of a lost history merges with the concern that his country’s rush to ‘reconstruct’ may be undermining what had seemed to be unshakeable foundations of human values.”1

Born in Duhok, Iraq, Siti graduated from the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad in 1976 and began to study printmaking at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana, Slovenia the following year. While he left Iraq to study art, the political situation made it impossible to return and in 1984 he sought refuge in London.

Walid Siti has exhibited widely around the world, including in the Pavilion of Iraq at the 54th International Art Biennale in Venice (2011). His most recent exhibitions include: Sanat Art Gallery, Diyarbakir, Turkey (2013); Walid Siti: The River Zei, Rose Issa Projects, London, UK (2011); Erbil-Dubai: Chasing Utopia, XVA Gallery, Dubai, UAE (2011); Merg Gallery, Erbil, Iraq (2011); Walid Siti, Duhok Gallery, Kurdistan-Iraq (2010); Sardam Gallery, Suleimania, Iraq (2010); XVA Gallery, Dubai, UAE (2009); Land on Fire, Rose Issa Projects at Leighton House Museum, London, UK (2008). Siti has also participated in numerous group shows worldwide, including: Hajj: Journey to Mecca, Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar (2013); Systems and Patterns, International Centre of Graphics, Ljubljana, Slovenia (2012); Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam, British Museum, London, UK (2012); Silent Revolution: Tallinn Drawing Triennial, Tallin Art Hall, Tallinn, Estonia (2012); Echoes from Periphery, Palazzo Granafei-Nervegna-Brindisi, Brindisi, Italy (2012); Take Care of Yourself at the Armed Art Gallery, Diyarbakir, Turkey (2011); Taswir: Pictorial Mappings of Islam and Modernity, Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum, Berlin (2009); Babylon: Iraq’s Past Speaks to the Present, the British Museum, London (2009); Re-Orientations: Contemporary Arab Representations, Rose Issa Projects at the European Parliament, Brussels (2008); Space Now, Triangle Gallery, London (2008) and the 18th Istanbul International Art Fair (2008); and Occupied Space 08, Art for Palestine, Qattan Foundation, London.

Siti’s work can be found in the public collections of The British Museum, London; The Imperial War Museum, London; The National Gallery of Amman, Jordan; The World Bank, Washington DC; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; The Iraq Memory Foundation and Art for American Embassy Program, Washington DC, USA.





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