Maysaloun Faraj Iraqi Artist

Artist: Sculptor / Painter

‘From the land between the two rivers, I pick up in my mind’s eye the remnants of pages from an ancient past scripted on clay tablets, where man first recorded his deeds and victories and recreate my own. I ‘sew’ them together in an act of healing and hope. I stand them tall and proud, like an open gate, defiant and dignified like our precious date palms, like our people, like our spirit.’ Maysaloun Faraj, History in Ruins, shown at the British Museum 2006


Maysaloun’s art is a fusion of East and West, tradition and modernity. Her personal experiences of war and exile; pride and longing resonate through her paintings and sculptures that have been exhibited throughout Europe, the US and the Middle East.

Born in the US (1955) to Iraqi parents, Maysaloun Faraj returned to Iraq in 1968 where she achieved a BSc in Architecture from the University of Baghdad (1978).  In 1982 she moved to London where  she pursued a successful career in the arts.  Her artwork is in notable private and public collections including the British Museum, Rotterdam Wereld Museum, National Museum for Women in the Arts (Washington USA), Jordan National Museum (Amman), Barjeel Art Foundation (UAE), Khan Foundation (Canada), Harba Collection and important others.

In 1995 Faraj founded the groundbreaking project Strokes of Genius: Contemporary Iraqi Art encompassing a touring exhibition (UK/USA 2000-3), iNCiA website (International Network for Contemporary Iraqi Art) and the Strokes of Genius book of which she is editor and which today is a leading source of reference on the subject.

She was the founder/director of Aya Gallery (2002-10), hosting a number of important exhibitions with focus on art from Iraq and the Middle East. In 2008 Maysaloun was invited to serve as a judge for the first Arab Art and Culture Award in the UK. Her last solo-exhibition Boats and Burdens: Kites and Shattered Dreams (2009) was inaugurated by Dr Venetia Porter (curator of Modern Middle East at the British Museum). She was nominated for the Jameel Prize 2013. Her latest work is sculpture in bronze.

Today Maysaloun continues to live in London and work from her Fulham studio, focusing totally on her own creativity (sculpture and painting).

BASED IN: London, UK

LANGUAGES: English and Arabic.


Maysaloun Faraj History in Ruins, The British Museum
Maysaloun’s Aya Gallery, London
Human Rights, Human Wrongs