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Hayv Kahramans Paintings Capture the Eects of Conflict | Architectural Digest 1/20/17, 10:31 AM

ART + AUCTIONS

Hayv Kahramans Paintings


Capture the Eects of Conflict
The Iraqi-born, L.A.-based artist lived through two wars before fleeing Iraq with
her family

TEXT BY VICKY LOWRY Posted October 21, 2016 Magazine

Hayv Kahraman in her Los Angeles studio. Photo: Douglas Friedman

With their coi!ed black hair, almond-shaped eyes, and scarlet lips, the
women in Hayv Kahramans paintings are all beautiful. Yet the exquisitely
detailed works are as devastating as they are seductive. Detached limbs "oat
in space. Punctures made in the canvas recall knife wounds. As for those
eyes, they are heartbreakingly sad.

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Hayv Kahramans Paintings Capture the Eects of Conflict | Architectural Digest 1/20/17, 10:31 AM

By the time she was just 11, the Baghdad-born (now Los Angelesbased)
artist had lived through two wars before "eeing Iraq with her family. A#er a
chaotic migration they settled in a small town in Sweden. I was the only kid
with black hair in my class, she remembers. Because I had to assimilate, I
lost who I thought I was. So I identify with the pain of other women who
have been a!ected by war.

A scholarship led her to Florence, Italy, where Kahraman would eventually


study graphic design. In her free time shed steal away to museums to gaze at
Renaissance masterpieces, absorbing the gestures of contrapposto. Marriage
and a move to Arizona in 2006 coincided with the height of sectarian
violence in Iraq. $ats when she traded illustrating for painting, and shes
been on a tear ever since.

At Art Basel in June, a striking painting of entangled nude women, titled


LRAD No. 2 (a#er long-range acoustic devices like the air-raid sirens that
terri%ed her as a child), was quickly snapped up by a collector. $is October,
following an exhibition of her paintings and sculptures at the School, Jack
Shainman Gallerys outpost in Kinderhook, New York, she debuts her latest
creations in a solo show at Omahas Joslyn Art Museum. When I %rst saw
her work, I felt my breath leave me, says Karin Campbell, the exhibitions
curator. Its not only the bodies that draw you in but also her complex
patterns. I can imagine Hayv using a teeny-tiny brush, working through
these lush patterns.
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Hayv Kahramans Paintings Capture the Eects of Conflict | Architectural Digest 1/20/17, 10:31 AM

Executing those decorative elements proves therapeutic for an artist whose


life su!ered such disruption. For me, that pattern, that order, is a necessity,
Kahraman says. $e motifs are mostly Islamic, taken from books, but also
from everyday things. $ey remind me of my heritage.

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