About Afifa Aleiby

Afifa Aleiby is a Dutch-Iraqi artist currently living in the Netherlands. Aleiby was born in the city of Basra, in the utmost southern part of Iraq in 1952. She took up her studies at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad while working as an illustrator for the Iraqi press, before leaving Iraq for the Soviet Union in 1974 to study and specialize in monumental art at the renowned Surikov Institute in Moscow. Due to the political situation in Iraq, she was unable to return to her native country after the completion of her studies. Before settling in Yemen to work as a teacher at the Institute of Fine Arts in Aden, she first moved to Italy and later back to Moscow. In Yemen, she also illustrated children’s books and magazines. Aleiby has since been living and working in the Netherlands, and keeps contributing to a great deal of cultural activities in support or the Iraqi and international democratic movement, in the struggle against terrorism, racism, war and dictatorship. Not having returned to her native country for 35 years, she has built a strong connection to every country she has been living in since leaving Iraq, both in a cultural and personal sense. Her connection to humanity and different cultures has made solidarity transcending geographical and cultural borders an important theme in her work. Bringing together different influences from Renaissance painting to religious icons and social realism, she uses the female figure as a recurring motif to reflect beauty, taste, politics and society. She has participated in numerous exhibitions through out her career, from Baghdad and Moscow to Yemen, Italy, Syria, Lebanon, England and the United States, as a representative of the artistic and cultural face of the Iraqi civilization. Selected exhibitions include Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991–2011 at MOMA PS1, NY (2019-2020), A Retrospective of her works in the Museum Catharinagasthuis in Gouda (The Netherlands), Re-Existence, Pulchri Studio, Den Haag, The Netherlands (2018); Boushahri Gallery, Kuwait City, Kuwait (2017); Boushahri Gallery, Kuwait City, Kuwait (2014); De Twee Pauwen, The Hague, The Netherlands (2014); Boushahri Gallery, Kuwait City, Kuwait (2010); Gallery Prima Vista, Maastricht, The Netherlands (2008); Galleria Tornabuoni,  Florence, Italy (2008); Zink Exposities, Bergen, The Netherlands (2008); Transit Art, Amersfoort, The Netherlands (2008); Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hague The Netherlands (2007); De Twee Pauwen, The Hague, The Netherlands (2007); Daar Al Mada, Damascus, Syria (2000); Beirut Biennale, Beirut, Lebanon (2000); Arabic Cultural Centre, Brussels, Belgium (1999); Tjalf Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (1999); Het Catharina Gasthuis Museum, Gouda, The Netherland (1999); Fortezza S. Francesco. Omaggio a Dilvio Lotti, San Miniato, Italy (1997); Het Veen, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (1997); Sale Topical, omaggio Gino Severini, Montespertoli, Italy (1995); Zalm Hotel, Gouda, The Netherlands (1995); City Gallery, Gouda, The Netherlands (1995); Centro culturale Studio Palazzo, Festival dei due mondi, Spoleto, Italy (1993); and Sala dell’ Esposizioni Quartiere No 1, Florence, Italy (1992).