Growing up between the USA where she was born (1955), Baghdad where she studied Architecture (1978), Paris and London where she lives and works (1982-present) essentially contributed to shaping her output as a painter, sculptor and ceramist.
“I draw on my mixed heritage and contemplate the intersection of place and identity. Oscillating between 2-dimensional painting and 3-dimensional sculpture, I aim to explore and visually articulate the complex dynamics between overarching societal concerns and the highly intimate. Amid an aesthetic informed by architectural discipline is a complex web of references bridging east and west, ancient and contemporary, often pondering on ‘spirituality’ and the transience of human existence. Deeply rooted in Iraq, I have an inner compulsion to examine identity shaped by displacement, conflict, war, injustice, human rights, human wrongs, and beauty lost. Ultimately, my work celebrates thoughts, influences and conversations, current yet stretching back into history.”
Venetia Porter writes “The British Museum is fortunate to have examples of the work of Maysaloun Faraj as part of its collection of modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art. In both subject matter and the very materials themselves, Maysaloun’s ceramics and paintings connect her utterly to her native Iraq. They testify to an energy and dedication that is demonstrated in everything that she does.”
In 1995, Faraj founded Strokes of Genius: Contemporary Iraqi Art (SOG) comprising a ground-breaking exhibition tour (UK/USA 2000-3), the International Network for Contemporary Iraqi Art (www.incia.co.uk) and a pivotal publication of which she is editor. In 2002 she cofounded Aya Gallery (www.ayagallery.co.uk) with her husband the architect Ali Mousawi, curating important exhibitions with focus on Iraqi art. In 2008 she was invited to serve as a judge for the first Arab Art and Culture Award in the UK and in 2015/17/18 took up residencies at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris.
Her work is in public collections including the British Museum, London UK; National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington USA; Rotterdam Werldmuseum, The Netherlands; Barjeel Foundation, Sharjah UAE; Jordan National Museum, Amman Jordan as well as private collections including Hussain Ali Harba Collection, Turin Italy; Ibrahimi Collection, Amman Jordan and important others.
Maysaloun Faraj currently lives and works in Fulham, London.