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was born in Basra, Iraq, in 1947. He studied in Baghdad at the Institute of Fine Arts and the Academy of Fine Arts in the late sixties, with further studies at the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux Arts and the University of Sorbonne in Paris.Since 1966 he has held many one-man shows in Basra, Baghdad, Rome, Algeria, London, Berlin and Copenhagen and has participated in group exhibitions in Baghdad, Brussels, Beirut, Paris, Milan, Kuwait, Damascus, Rome, Ferrara, Florence, London, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Detroit and Grenell (Iowa). After leaving Iraq, he lived in Italy, France and Algeria before settled some years ago in London. With almost 30 years of living in Europe, Faisal continually enriches his understanding of Iraq’s unique and rich cultural heritage from the pre-Islamic Mesopotamian civilisations of Sumer, Babylon and Assyria, and is always able to bring a new expression of this heritage into his new works. His keen sense of historical identity and mission is far from what a European might take at first to be a patriotic attachment to his homeland. For him, painting is the expression of belonging to a particular community, his spirit urging him to create paintings like Arabic poems and songs or music on the oud or qanoon.
A master of technique and colour, Faisal works in oils, acrylic, water colours, or pen and ink to develop a distinctly Iraqi style of painting and expression that also reflects his deep commitment to social justice. Many of his works are complex depictions of what was every-day Iraqi life, such as the coffee shop scenes of these covers. He chooses the vibrant colours that belong to his environment.
“My colours are not very complicated, they are simple, very clear, he says. “Sometimes what a European may think is a contradiction is not so for us in the East. Blue against red, in our society, that is normal, just as Picasso and Matisse discovered another world of colours when they went to Africa, just like Klee when he went to Tunis and began to paint there.”