Hidden Love #6
Halim Al Karim
140 x 80cm
This piece is typical of Halim Al Karim’s signature style featuring strategically blurred and altered photographs. His biographic history – spending almost three years hiding in the desert after fleeing the army and escaping compulsory military service in his native Iraq – had a profound impact on the work he creates. This piece comes from the Hidden Love series, which are intentionally dreamlike portraits with wide clear eyes. The artist draws on Sufi mysticism with these works; they are intended to be a projection of inner consciousness and the process of spiritual awakening.
Halim Al Karim was born in 1963 in Najaf, Iraq. He went on to study at the Baghdad Academy of Fine Arts and later the Gerrit Reitveld Academie in Amsterdam. During the first Gulf War in the early 1990s, Al Karim was drafted into the army but fled, hiding for three years in the desert, where he was brought food and water by a Bedouin woman. This experience greatly informs the themes in his work, which often show veiled women as goddesses or saviours. Al Karim was featured in the Iraqi Pavilion of the 54th Venice Biennale, and his works are in the collections of the Arab Museum of Contemporary Art in Doha, Qatar, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, among others. He lives and works between the USA and the UAE.