Creative and Inspiring Women Artists of Iraq Pt. 1

Ibrahimi Collection will be dedicating this story to celebrate, greet, and appreciate the creative and inspiring pioneer women artists of Iraq.

During the fifties and sixties of the 20th century, where the Arab world communities still lived in a very conservative environment ruled by prejudgment for the women who were trying to break the prevalent morals, especially in literature and plastic art, to challenge the deep-seated traditions seeking to present their intellectual views and vision.

A group of Iraqi artists broke free and came into view producing amazing artworks representing the turmoil of the time. Their works have awarded hope, courage, inspired the life of women and men. Their initiatives and bravery participated to change and improve the position of women in their communities. To this day, their artworks grant the generations grace, beauty, knowledge, joy and nostalgia. We all have learnt and felt their defiance through their artworks and they will be long remembered.

In A Field Of Emptiness, Layla ALATTAR, 1979, From the collection of: Ibrahimi Collection
Show lessRead more

In A Field Of Emptiness (1979) by Layla ALATTARIbrahimi Collection

Layla ALATTAR (1944 - 1993)

Artist Layla Ali Sadiq Al-Attar was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1944. She is the younger sister of the artist Su’ad Al-Attar. Her father was from a Baghdadi family, who worked as an accountant, and her mother came from an affluent and well-known family in Basra.

She studied and graduated from the first session of the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad in 1965.

In 1966, she founded the “Adam and Eve Group” and participated in its first exhibition in Baghdad.

She took over the management of Al-Riwaq Hall and Baghdad Hall in 1983.

And in 1985, she was appointed Director of the National Museum of Modern Art and Director of the Fine Art Center.

She was a member of the Iraqi Artists Association and Iraqi Artists Syndicate.

In June 27 1993, the artist was martyred at the age of forty-nine, with her husband, and their housekeeper; her daughter Reem was deeply wounded in a missile attack on an important security facility...

...which was hit by 24 missiles, as directed by former US President Bill Clinton. Two of these missiles struck her house by mistake, which was next to this facility in Baghdad.

She's greatly known for her kindness and work to strengthen the position of Iraqi women artists in the art scene.

In A Field Of Emptiness 1979 - Layla ALATTAR

"In most of her paintings, Layla Al-Attar depicted a naked woman with a headless body, planted with roots in fertile ground that was abundantly watered." - Iraqi writer and critic, Hamdi Mikhlif Al-Hadithi 

The Mother Earth (1980) by Layla AL-ATTARIbrahimi Collection

The Mother Earth

Oil on Canvas on Board, Dated 1980

"The art of Layla Al-Attar was suggestive of alienation and deep sadness, which made her take nature as a subject for salvation." - Adel Kamel

The history of this painting coincides with the holding of the Palestinian Exhibition: Layla Al-Attar, Rajiha Al-Qudsi, Mona Shams El-Din, on March 15 1980, at the National Museum of Modern Art.

Funeral Ceremony, Suad AL-ATTAR, 1966, From the collection of: Ibrahimi Collection
Show lessRead more

Funeral Ceremony (1966) by Suad AL-ATTARIbrahimi Collection


Artist Suad Al-Attar was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1942. She was the second of three children and the older sister of the late artist, Layla Al-Attar. 

She completed her studies in the United States, obtaining a Fine Arts Diploma from the University of California in 1963.

Funeral Ceremony

Oil on Canvas, Dated 1966

Suad Al-Attar was passionate about social issues, conveying it as a message full of color and meaningful aesthetic communication that records the suffering, misery and sadness of women. 

Beggars (1964) by Suad AL-ATTARIbrahimi Collection

She portrayed Baghdadi women in their black, colored and embroidered dresses. Their black veils and their faces were dominated by the fatigue of passing years and the toil of time. 

In the mid-seventies, Suad left Iraq with her husband and children to live in London; nonetheless, they frequently visited Iraq.


Oil on Canvas, Dated 1964

Eden Paradise (1970/1971) by Suad AL-ATTARIbrahimi Collection

In 1985, she won the 'Miro Prize' at the International Art Exhibition "Honoring Pablo Picasso and Juan Miro" in Madrid, Spain.

She lives in London with her family dedicating her full-time to her art in her own studio.

Eden Paradise

Oil on Board, Dated 1970 - 1971

A Woman Waiting in a Palm Forest (1971) by Suad AL-ATTARIbrahimi Collection

"The artist painted a green world of fertility and growth brimming with life.  A woman lying dimly under the shade of a palm tree, bare from everything that covers her and devoid of everything that protects her nudity.

It does not mean seduction, but rather tells an eternal story of the need for the other as well as for survival, fertility and reproduction".

A Woman Waiting In a Palm Forest

Oil on Canvas, Dated 1971 

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Where are the Women?
From forgotten pioneers to iconic trailblazers, celebrate women in arts and culture
View theme
Google apps