Kadhim Hayder (Iraqi, 1932-1985)
The Martyr's Epic
Signed and dated "K. HAIDAR 1965" l.l., titled and inscribed "...Fatigued,
ten horses converse with nothing/KADIM HAIDER/1965."
Oil on canvas, 36 x 50 in. (91.4 x 127.0 cm), framed.
Condition: Surface grime.
Provenance: From the collection of Louis Albert McMillen.
N.B. Hayder was amongst the younger members of La Société Primitive, better known as 'The Pioneers.' The group, which flourished in Baghdad between 1950 and 1974, was comprised of artists who sought to 'abandon the restricting and artificial atmosphere of their studios and paint directly within and from their outdoor environment. Nature, city and village scenes as well as traditional Iraqi country life became their main focus for their works.' (1) The Pioneers were the first of many artistic groups that arose in the 1950s out of a desire to establish a native Iraqi artistic language, and can be understood against the political backdrop of growing dissatisfaction with the British-backed constitutional monarchy.
Hayder received his BA in painting in 1957 at the Institute for Fine Arts, Baghdad's first school exclusively for the visual and dramatic arts. From 1961 to 1962, Hayder studied theater design and printmaking in London at the Royal College of Art with such contemporaries as Barbara Hepworth and R.B. Kitaj. Upon his return to Iraq, he taught at the IFA as well as the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad. Hayder would later establish the design department at the AFA in 1974, and served for a year as department chair of Plastic Arts there. In addition to his academic career, he worked to promote Iraqi and pan-Arab artistic identity by serving on such organizations as the Society of Iraqi Plastic Artists, Union of Iraqi Artists, and Union of Arab Artists.
(1) Faraj, Maysaloun. Strokes of Genius: Contemporary Iraqi Art. London: Saqi Books, 2001. Pg. 24.
Minor flaking and paint loss in l.r. quadrant, largest loss approx. 1/4 x 1/4 in.