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 a metaphorical 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 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 techniques such as the still-life, internal-external spaces and landscapes acquire a strange twist, and turn into uncanny illusions.
Sami applies the index and pun 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 trauma, 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 war and its effects through a slow personal reading. His work evokes a widespread sense of loss and conflict that inhabits cultures collectively.
2004 Diploma in Drawing, The Institute of Fine Arts, Baghdad, Iraq.
2016 BA Fine Art with First Class Honours Degree, Ulster University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
2018 MFA Fine Art, Goldsmiths College, University of London, United Kingdom.
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.
Selected group exhibitions*
2019 FBA Futures, Mall Galleries. London.
2018 Bloomberg New Contemporaries, following by Liverpool Biennial and South London Gallery. The Sea is the Limited, York Museum/ Art Gallery, York, UK. Following by 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.
2007-08 World Discussion; the international Biennial of Contemporary Art, San-Petersburg, Russia.
2006 The Iraqi National Museum of Modern Art, Baghdad.
2019 Hottinger Prize for Excellence, Mall Galleries, London.
2016 The Undergraduate Award (The global winner of Visual Art and Design Category), Dublin, Ireland.
The permanent collection of York Museum, York, UK.
The Government Art Collection, UK.
The Iraqi Ministry of Culture, Baghdad, Iraq.
2018 The Swedish Arts Grants Committee ( Konstnärsnämndens), one year grant, Sweden.
2015 Region Östergötland (Kultur och utvecklingsstipendium), Culture and Development Grant, Sweden.
2014/15 PRŌTOCOLLUM Global Perspectives on Visual Vocabulary (1st issue), Berline, Germany.