“Indelible Memory” is the title of the current exhibition by Iraqi contemporary artist Serwan Baran. Opened on Sunday 2 February at Misr Art Gallery, Zamalek, Cairo, the exhibition runs till 20 February.
In 30 paintings, Baran pours out his agony over the brutality of the consecutive wars his people in Iraq had to live through.
Through concerning himself with the minute details, Baran’s paintings convey a political and human message that is valid at all times: past, present, and future. His violent and furious brushstrokes express the oppression inflicted on the Iraqi people through war.
Baran’s ”Captivity” depicts two captured soldiers in uniform against a dominant sandy-yellow background which brings out the humiliation of captivity at the hands of a tyrannical ruler.
Baran’s faces are distorted and frequently featureless, a result of brutal torture and oppression. In “Imprisonment”, the artist shows captives in blue uniforms swimming about in what appears to be a ceaseless dilemma.
Born in 1968, Serwan Baran grew up in Baghdad. He received a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Babylon in 1991.
He joined the Iraqi military and witnessed the defeat and humiliation. Following the 2003 second Gulf War, he moved to live in Amman, Jordan, where he stayed for ten years during which his artistic trends were formed.
Baran has been living and working in Beirut since 2013. He has had solo exhibitions at Nabad Art Gallery in Amman (2013), Matisse Art Gallery in Marrakech (2013), among other galleries Damascus, Tokyo, and various Iraqi cities.
Baran participated in Cairo Biennale in 1999, Al-Kharafi Biennial in Kuwait in 2011, and the fourth Marrakech Biennale in 2012. His work was included in the 2018 exhibition “Face Value: Portraiture” at Saleh Barakat Gallery. Most recently, he represented Iraq in the 2019 Venice biennial.
Baran is a member of several artist associations including, the International Association of Art, the Iraqi Fine Artists Association and the International Network for Contemporary Iraqi artists.
7 February 2020