Maysaloun Faraj is an Iraqi/American born (1955) London based painter and sculptor. Growing up between the USA (1950s-60s), Baghdad (1970s) and London (from 1982) with intermittent bouts in Paris, collectively contributed to shaping Faraj’s creative output and artistic accomplishment. Graduated with a BSc in Architecture, University of Baghdad (1978) and went on to study sculptural ceramics at Putney School of Art and Design and was resident at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (2015/17/18).
Displaced by decades of war, deeply rooted in Iraq, Faraj’s work contemplates the intersection of place and identity and explores the dynamics between overarching societal concerns and the highly personal. Her visual vocabulary is colour and basic geometric forms; an ideal realm for harmony and order. Amid an aesthetic informed by architectural discipline is a complex web of references bridging East and West, ancient and contemporary, often pondering on ‘spirituality’ and the transience of human existence. Her career spans four decades with work in various mediums, creating subtle interplay between two and three-dimensional forms.
Furthermore, Faraj has been an integral figure in the rise of the modern Middle East Art scene; curatorial work includes the first international showcase of Iraqi art (tour UK/USA 2000-3) exploring the work of pioneering Iraqi artists and subsequent generation. She is editor of the seminal publication Strokes of Genius: Contemporary Iraqi art (Saqi Books 2001) also co-founder of Aya Gallery (2002-10) with architect husband Ali Mousawi; an important platform to advance art from Iraq and the Middle East. Served as a judge for the first Arab Art and Culture Award in the UK (2008). Her work has been acquired by international art institutions including The British Museum (UK), National Museum for Women in the Arts (USA), Barjeel Foundation (UAE), Rotterdam Werldmuseum (Netherlands), National Museum (Jordan), Aga Khan Foundation (UK & Canada) as well as noteworthy private collections including Hussain Harba (Italy), Ibrahimi Collection (Jordan), Basil Rahim (UK) and important others. Maysaloun Faraj lives and works in London.