Hayv Kahraman is an artist from Iraq. Spanning drawing, painting, and sculpture, her practice engages with very difficult issues surrounding female identity in her homeland – how women are victimised within their own culture, made subservient to men and often suffer the most from the effects of the war. Kahraman tells these tales of horror with a demure grace through her stunningly beautiful paintings. In this series of work, her images depict the scriptural story of the Sacrifice of The Lamb, which is central to the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha, recasting the figures as women.
Painted directly onto stretched linen, Flaying The Lamb contrasts the natural rough weave of the canvas with Kahraman’s highly polished painting technique, the juxtaposition between the real sumptuous fabric and the painted dresses heightening the spatial illusion. Though using a limited palette and simplified planar compositions, Kahraman achieves a tremendous amount of depth in her work through the intensity of her colours and veneers of layered patterning. Kahraman delivers this with effortless fluency: the whites of the lamb dazzle with the lustre of inlaid pearl and the black masses of hair expand like giant inky spills, replicating antiquity’s luxuriance.