Halim Al Karim
Leading contemporary artist Halim Al-Karim continues to become more famous year on year. He was recently featured in the Glasstress 2017 exhibition at the Fondazione Berengo for the 57th Venice Biennale. In his engraved Murano glass mirror, the artist expressed the trauma of his exile, fleeing the mandatory military service and hiding in the desert for three years, during the first Gulf War. This exile has in fact largely impacted his art and Al-Karim is widely known for his photography, which carries mystical and spiritual aspects that he often covers with a layer of silk to blur the image. His work is a reflection of the impact of violence, both physical and psychological, and draws from his influence of Sufi values and the ancient Sumerian traditions of his ancestors. The Sin of History is one of the artist’s early works. Painted after the start of the Iraq War, it seems to be evoking the crimes of war through the intense red and dark colours and looking back at the souls of the martyrs of his native Iraq. The minimalist square shapes in the work underline its power and the artist beautifully highlights his hope with sparkling gold leafs across the handmade palm tree paper, a meaningful symbol of his identity. To day, living between Denver and Dubai, Al-Karim has also been exhibited at the Iraqi Pavilion of the 54th Venice Biennale -the first Iraqi Pavilion for 36 years- and his works are collected by prestigious institutions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris and the Barjeel Art Foundation in the UAE.