Mohammed Sami was born in Baghdad, Iraq, 1984. He studied drawing and painting at The Institute of Fine Arts, Baghdad, Iraq 2005. He immigrated to Sweden in 2007. Later, in 2015 he earned a first-class honours degree from Ulster University-Belfast school of art, Northern Ireland. He has completed his master’s degree in fine art at Goldsmiths College, London, 2018. Mohammed lives and works between London and Norrköping, Sweden.
Mohammed Sami approaches painting as an allegorical representation against the striking image of conflict and violence. His paintings explore belated memories triggered by common everyday objects and banal, from when he immigrated to Sweden as a refugee from his native Iraq.
Rather than using the theme of trauma as a testimony to the Iraq conflict, which he witnessed first-hand, Sami deploys painting to articulate war and memory, and loss obliquely. The semi-abstract register and multi-textured paint create a nuanced relationship between the original event and its present recollection in Sami’s artworks. These often appear playful, yet traditional genres such as the still-life, internal-external spaces and landscapes acquire a strange twist, muted, and turn into uncanny illusions.
Sami applies the index and euphemism as delusive signifiers, as well as the historical harmonic composition, to free the painting from the need of imitating reality. Therefore, in many cases, his paintings appear to be about something else than the source of the conflict, which enables a transitive context for the viewers, and avoids being didactic. The affective nature of the paintings does not convey a concrete message. It thrusts us to an involuntary mode of critical inquiry, rather than a specific truth.
Sami’s painting challenges the typical image of suffering and provides a symptomatic perspective of conflict dynamics and its effects through a slow personal reading. His autobiographical works aim to evoke a widespread sense of loss that inhabits cultures collectively.
2018 MFA Fine Art, Goldsmiths College, University of London, United Kingdom.
2016 BA Fine Art with First Class Honours Degree, Ulster University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
2004 Higher Diploma in Painting and Drawing, The Institute of Fine Arts, Baghdad, Iraq.
2023 Camden Art Centre (forthcoming)
2022 Modern Art, London.
2021 Apocrypha, Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, London, UK.
2013 JAMM ART Gallery, Kuwait.
2012 Dag Andersson Gallery, Norrköping, Sweden.
2006 Al Khanji Gallery, Aleppo, Syria.
2005 Alwasity Gallery, Iraqi Ministry of Culture, Baghdad, Iraq.
1999 University of Baghdad, Iraq.
2022 Necessity, Gallery Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm, Sweden.
The London Open. Whitechapel Gallery, London.
Still Alive, Aichi Triennale, Aichi Arts Center, Japan.
2021 Mixing It Up: Painting Today. Hayward Gallery, curated by Ralph Rugoff.
Homeplace. V.O Curations-Mayfair, London.
2020 Towner International, Towner Eastbourne Museum, UK.
Stilla liv (Still life) Gallery Magnus Karlsson, Gotland, Sweden.
Time-out, Patrick Heide Contemporary Gallery, London, UK.
2018 Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Liverpool Biennial travelling to South London Gallery.
The Sea is the Limited, York Museum, York, UK, travelling to Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, Doha. (Qatar) 2019.
2011 The Culture Night of Norrköping City, Norrköping Art Museum, Sweden.
2010 Autumn Salon Paris, France.
2006 The Iraqi National Museum of Modern Art, Baghdad.
Arts Council Collection, London, UK.
Blenheim Art Foundation, Woodstock, UK.
The Government Art Collection, London, UK.
Christen Sveaas Collection,Oslo, Norway.
Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA Miami), Miami, FL, USA.
The Iraqi Ministry of Culture, Baghdad, Iraq.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden.
The Permanent Collection of York Art Gallery, York, UK.
Featured and publications*
2021 The Seas and the Mobility of Islamic Art, edited by Radha Dalal, Sean Roberts and Jochen Sokoly. Yale University Press. ISBN: 9780300256888.
2014/15 PRŌTOCOLLUM Global Perspectives on Visual Vocabulary (1st issue), Berline, Germany. ISBN: 978-3-9816206-2-7.
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