On April 23, the search engine Google remembered the famous Iraqi painter Naziha Selim with a doodle for Selim’s invaluable contribution to contemporary art. This painter depicted the lives of rural women. Naziha Selim was a professor and one of the most influential artists in the world. Most importantly, she helped keep Iraq on the map of contemporary painting.
Google has chosen April 23 to celebrate Selim because, on the same day in 2020, the Bargil Art Foundation showcased her work with other female artists in their collection. The same artwork is still on display at the Sharjah Art Museum and the Iraqi Archives of Modern Art.
Google in its tribute to Naziha Salim wrote, “There you can see the magic she created from dripping brushes and brimmed canvases. Today’s Doodle artwork is an ode to Salim’s painting style and a celebration of her long standing contributions to the art world.”
Naziha Selim was born in 1927 in Turkey to an artist family. She studied art at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad and the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Art in Paris.
Selim’s father was a painter and his mother was an embroidery artist. She had three brothers and all of them had outstanding contributions to the arts. One of his brothers, Jawad Selim, is considered one of Iraq’s most prominent sculptors.
Surrounded by artists around her home, Selim’s fascination with art began at an early age, and from then on she began to create her own works of art. She earned a specialization in the course and received a scholarship to study at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Art in Paris.
She worked at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad and taught there until her retirement. She also founded a community of foreign-educated artists called Al-Ruwwad and was one of its founding members.
Selim specializes in frescoes and mural paintings while in Paris.
Al-Ruwwad is an artist community that invites artists from around the world and incorporates art techniques into Iraqi aesthetics.
She authored a book, Iraq: Contemporary Art, an important source of information on the early development of the modern art movement in Iraq, and her works are on display at the Sharjah Art Museum and the Modern Art Iraqi Archive (MAIA).