‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, 2008
‘Casualty Unreported3′, 2008
‘Mona 1′, 2008
charcoal and acrylic and Arabic newspaper on canvas
Ayad Alkadhi uses Arabic calligraphy in the form of calligrams, or figurative imagery composed of interwoven written words, to create narratives within his work concerning the themes of religion, politics, and culture. His recent paintings reflect the war in Iraq and its psychological, emotional and social ramifications for the modern Iraqi population.
In ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, 2008, he depicts a soldier on his way to fight a war, his face covered in a handwritten goodbye letter addressed to his mother. There is a small barcode on his neck as if to ask, what is the price of human life? In the ‘Mona’ series Alkadhi invites those not directly involved in the war in iraq – predominantly those in the West – to think about how they would feel about the Iraq war if people they knew were involved. If you had a friend who was an Iraqi citizen how would you feel? Alkadhi uses one of the most recognisable faces in the world, the Mona Lisa, in this series, to encourage people to consider how their views on the war might change if the faces on the other side of the conflict were friends and family.
Alkadhi continues his engagement with the war in Iraq in the series ‘Casualty Unreported’. There have been an estimated 151,000 casualties since the 2003 American invasion of Iraq and often these dead simply disappear – their lives have never been accounted for and their families aren’t able to claim a body or even items of clothing. The lives of these people are cut short and their stories rarely told.
Ayad Alkadhi was born in Baghdad and spent his childhood between the UK, UAE and Iraq. He left Iraq when he was 23 after the first Gulf War. He is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of Art, and his work is currently on view in an exhibition of work by Iraqi artists in exile at the Station Contemporary Art Museum in Houston until 1 February 2009.
To see more of his work registered on Saatchi Online click here.