Halim Al Karim (b.1963, Iraq)

Born in 1963 in Najaf, Iraq, Halim Al Karim mainly divides his time between Amsterdam, Denver, and Dubai, where he lives, works, and exhibits. Recently, he joined the roster of  artists represented by Galerie Imane Farès in Paris. This spatial and cultural nomadism marks the itinerary of many Iraqi artists of his generation who fled repression and war in search of better skies where they could enjoy the freedom of expression that they needed for their artistic explorations.

Halim Al Karim left Iraq after graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad in 1988. During a transitional stay in Amman, Jordan, Al Karim practiced sculpture and painting. He then emigrated to the Netherlands and enrolled in the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam from 1996 to 2000. He studied the technical and aesthetic principles of photographic images and the history of photography in contemporary and modern art. He was quick to integrate the creative potentials into his own personal and artistic projects. Photography has since become the main medium of expression for his aesthetic and existential concerns. “The work I’m now doing represents a new phase in the exploration of my own identity, the emotions I experience, and their visual representation,” says Halim Al Karim, explaining his relationship to photography. To him photography is not merely an art form purported to reproduce reality faithfully; it is a means to question, analyse, and understand the essence and complexity of the world around him. His artwork therefore lends itself to decipherment and should be read from the perspective of an existential unveiling, confronting the wounded memory and experience of exile with the desire to lift the mask from a dehumanising reality.

Without abandoning his culture, he has incorporated certain perspectives of modernity and thus delivers to us an original, brand new  body of work. Halim Al Karim’s works have been shown in many solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Dubai, Lebanon, Jordan, the Netherlands and England, including the 2009 exhibition “Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East” at the Saatchi Gallery in London, and most recently a solo show in New York on the 27th of October 2011.


Al Karim, Halim b.1963

related artists / Iraq / Middle East