A long artistic journey

Baghdad’s fine art gallery celebrates 70 years of Saadi Al-Kaabi

BAGHDAD — The Fine Art Gallery in Dijlah Village, Baghdad, recently hosted a celebration titled “Saadi Al-Kaabi: 70 Years of Creativity,” paying homage to the venerable painter’s illustrious career that has spanned from Najaf to Baghdad and eventually to the United States amid years of civil unrest. Born in 1937, Al-Kaabi’s unique style has resonated with students and followers alike, despite a career that has not been exclusively sustained by his artwork.

The event, orchestrated by artist Mohammed Al-Kinani, featured a series of discussions where Al-Kaabi elucidated on his artistic interests and the collaborative efforts among artists to forge the Iraqi school of painting’s identity.

Al-Kaabi shared insights into his artistic philosophy with 964media, emphasizing a stylistic approach that weaves the rich tapestry of Sumerian, Babylonian, and Assyrian civilizations with contemporary artistic movements. This method, he noted, is deeply influenced by his upbringing in Najaf, imbuing his work with a distinct local flair.

Fakhir Mohammed, a renowned artist, lauded Al-Kaabi’s enduring impact on the art scene since the 1960s, even as Al-Kaabi navigated the challenges of migration. “He never lost his connection to Baghdad; Iraq and its storied history have always been a part of his essence,” Mohammed observed.

Ali Kazem, the director of Fine Art Gallery, underscored the significance of recognizing Al-Kaabi’s contributions. Speaking to 964media, Kazem stated, “It’s our responsibility at Fine Art Gallery to honor an artist of Saadi Al-Kaabi’s stature, acknowledging his profound influence on both the Arab and international art landscapes.” Kazem further mentioned that the tribute to Al-Kaabi marks the beginning of a series dedicated to celebrating artists who have significantly advanced Iraqi visual arts and contributed to its recognition on a global scale.