Variety in graphical techniques and topics

Dr. Hermann Schifferer

Iman Mahmud enjoyed a thorough education in arts and graphics in Bagdad, followed by studies in Fine Arts at the Academy of Arts in the Iraqi capital. Since 1998 she uses to live in Munich/Germany and can oversee numerous single and group exhibitions.

Whereas one show seems to have been rather particular namely „Stroces of Genius Contemprary Art from Iraq“ in London.

In arts she has always been closely related to her cultural roots, even after arriving and living in Germany. Calligraphy forms a central part in her artistic development. On the one hand pictures of humans and other living items are prohibited from being shown in Islamic pictures on the other hand writing developed to an established art form.

In the Islamic world the calligraphy aesthetics belong to natural component oft he traditional written culture. As an Iraqi Iman Mhmud refers to 4000 BC Mesopotamia and the invention of writing at first on the basis of pictograms later on the basis oft he cuneiform writing on clay.

Islamic calligraphy is an artistic practice of handwriting  always based upon the Arabic language and alphabet in the countries sharing a common Islamic cultural heritage . Islamic calligraphy is strongly related tot he Quran thus rendering it tot he major form of artistic expression in Islamic cultures. Perfection in writing is the defined oft he artist.

In Iman Mahmuds Oeuvre Arabian characters appear in black and gray color on white paper. They help to form shadows cuttlings decorations patterns and three-dimensionality. The words and texts are mere compositions of word fragments with sometimes a symbolic or mystic meaning thus picking up the Sufi tradition. Whilst in the past she preferred to stage letters and words in an abstract manner in subtle or mostly bright colours she has started to concentrate on the woman in the Islamic world for approximately five up to eight years.

Thus she took up figurative painting and gave her

Pieces of art a social connotation.

We find said women in a quiet calm attitude – lonely isolated fixed and intoverted – their melancholic eyes symblize resignation. They miss active lively participation however may additionally represent the role and sort of their home countries. The written word seems to replace oral communication. The noble upright postures in sitting give the representatives an expression of dinity and expectation. Iman Mahmud picks up the Middle European influence and uses the latter for formulating a wish or an observation in aesthetically perfect settings. The technique of ink drawing makes the women lively counterparts to the spectator. Her recent addition of red in some cases likes to emphasize the beauty by a contrast but merely the tragic situations in a lot of Arabian home countries (Iraq, Syria)

It is delightful to follow the traces and works of Iman Mahmud in her intercultural approach. In spite of this she remains continuously rooted of writing a cut bamboo tube which is dipped into the carbon black.


 A marked oeuvre for our times of refugees and continued in the Middle East!


Dr. Hermann Schifferer



 11.11.2015 München