His characters walk a tight rope between joy and sorrow

About the Artist

Jaber Alwan was born in the Iraqi city of Babylon in 1948.

He graduated from the Fine Arts Institute in Baghdad in 1970 and in 1972, he moved to Rome, where he studied sculpture. He would go on to become the first foreigner to be awarded the best artist prize by the municipality of Rome.

His work is permanently displayed in modern art museums in Baghdad, Damascus, Qatar, Kuwait, as well as the Cairo Opera House, the Calouste Museum in Lisbon, the Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara, and the Academic Museum of Ravenna. His art is also held in private collections in many cities in Europe, Russia, Japan and Chile.

Jaber’s first painting was a fortuitous discovery, since it was a mere juxtaposition of colors randomly daubed and then manipulated with a brush.

Jaber Alwan: Once I take the brush, I am not in control anymore, and the painting is in the driver’s seat.

Running away from politics and taking refuge in art, Jaber left Iraq and set off for Italy.

Jaber Alwan: When I arrived in Rome, I felt the city was a pretty woman of 2000 years. She hugged me and cast a magical spell on me.

Year after year, Jaber’s realm of art grew exponentially, and his fame reached new heights that he never anticipated.

Jaber Alwan: Critics say that my paintings have an orderly sculpturing element.

The paintings’ shroud of mystique surrounding daydreaming faces enthralls beholders, who cannot ascertain whether those it portrays are in jubilation or steeped in sorrow.

Such faces comprise the essence of Jaber’s paintings. Interestingly, Jaber neither has any premeditation for his characters nor does he predict their destiny.

The core strength of Jaber’s artworks lies in such enigmatic techniques, and once its mystical secrets are unraveled, the painting will be mainstream art.