Maysaloun Faraj is a painter and sculptor. She grew up between the USA, where she was born (1955); Baghdad, where she graduated with a BSc in Architectural Engineering (Baghdad University 1978); and London where she lives and works (1982-present). In 2015/17/18 she took up residency at the Cité International des Arts, Paris with focus to develop her painting and long-standing interest in colour and geometric abstraction. 

With an aesthetic rooted in architectural discipline, Faraj draws on her mixed heritage as she contemplates the intersection of place and identity.  In her work she connects her roots in an attempt to build bridges between the two cultures, East and West, articulating a complex web of references. Oscillating between 2-dimensional painting and 3-dimensional sculpture, her visual vocabulary explores the dynamics between overarching societal concerns and the highly intimate, often pondering on spirituality and the transience of human existence. 

Her work is in notable public collections including the British Museum, Rotterdam Wereld Museum, National Museum for Women in the Arts (USA), Jordan National Museum (Amman), Barjeel Art Foundation (UAE), Al-Mansouria Foundation (Paris), Aga Khan Foundation (Canada), Hussain Harba Collectio, Ali Husri (Jordan) and the late Basil al-Rahim (London).    

Besides her own artwork, Faraj initiated and lead a multi-faceted project to bring the works of Iraqi artists to the fore; Strokes of Genius: Contemporary Iraqi Art (1995-2003).  Supported by Arts Council England, this comprised a ground-breaking UK-USA exhibition tour, the first ever website to feature collectively the works of Iraqi artists world-wide and a seminal publication of which she is editor.  In 2002, she co-founded Aya Gallery London with her architect husband Ali Mousawi, curating important exhibitions with focus on modern and contemporary art from Iraq.  In 2008 Faraj was invited to serve as a judge for the first Arab Art and Culture Award in the UK. After years dedicated to bringing Iraqi Art to the fore, gaining the interest of world museums, collectors and international auction houses, she decided that time was due to focus back on her own art. This culminated in the solo exhibition Boats and Burdens: Kites and Shattered Dreams 2009, which was inaugurated by Venetia Porter, curator of Modern Middle East at the British Museum. 

Maysaloun Faraj lives and works in London.

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS               

2017/18 Resident Artist Cité Internationale des Arts Paris France

2016 Abu Dhabi Art: Ayyam Gallery UAE

2015 Resident Artist Cité Internationale des Arts Paris France
2014 Get Acquainted ­ Sharjah Calligraphy Biennial ­ Sixth Edition UAE
2010 One Thousand and One Nights William Paterson University New Jersey USA                      2009 The Recessionists British Art and Art from the Middle East Somerset UK                        
-      Creativity vs Destruction: Stories of Iraqi Art Reel Iraq Roxy Art House Edinburgh Scotland    2008 Iraq's Past Speaks to the Present British Museum London
-      Word into Art British Museum and DIFC Dubai UAE   
2006 Occupied Space: Art for Palestine Palestine Solidarity & Qattan Foundation London           2004 Seed Body & Soul: Artists Against Depleted Uranium Earls Court London                          2003 Cities of Iraq: Samarra to Baghdad (Islamic Culture in Focus) British Museum London
-      Diversity in Harmony University of Michigan Dearborn USA                                                     -      Before After Now: Visions of Iraq Deluxe Gallery Hoxton Square London
2002 Islamic World Painting Biennial Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art Iran
-      Calligraphy Beit al-Quran Manama Bahrain                                                                         -      Masterstrokes, October Gallery London UK                                                                          2001 Contemporary Arab Art Wereldmuseum Rotterdam Netherlands                                     2000/3 Strokes of Genius: Contemporary Iraqi Art Tour UK & USA: Brunei Gallery SOAS London, Exeter University, Hotbath Galleries Bath, Grinnell College Iowa, DePaul
University Chicago
2000 Arab Cultures: Young Worlds British Museum London
1999 Artists for Human Rights Durban South Africa                                                                    -      Dialogue of the Present Tour London Brighton and Brunell
1998 20th Anniversary of Egee Art Soni Gallery London
1997 Homage to Jewad Selim Kufa Gallery London
-      Art in Hammersmith Riverside Studios London                 
-      Breaking Down the Boundaries Pits Hanger Gallery London                                               1996 Eastern & Icelandic Art: William Morris Centenary Wimbledon Library London
1995 Arabian Eyes: Arab Women Art Bait al-Sirkal Ministry of Culture & Information Sharjah UAE
1994 Forces of Change: Artists from the Arab World National Museum for Women in the Arts: Tour    Washington Chicago California
-      Culture & Continuity Midlands Art Centre Birmingham
1992 Out of Iraq Camden Lock Market London
-      Arab Womens' Art Festival Rose Issa and Kufa Gallery London
1988 Baghdad International Biennial Saddam Art Centre (formerly) Baghdad
-      126th Annual Society of Women Artists Westminster Central Hall London 
1986 Contemporary Arab Art Mall Galleries Arab States League London

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS  

2018 Shooting Stars: Baghdad A Paris, Cité des Arts Paris

2009 Boats and Burdens: Kites and Shattered Dreams Ayagallery London                               1995 Once Upon a Culture SOAS (School of Oriental & African Studies) London                         1994 Oriental Delight Trocadero London                                                                              1992 Sisters in Harmony River Gardens London                                                                   1991 Faith Argile Gallery London                                                                                        1990 Ya Rab Rochan Gallery Motcomb Street London                                                             1989 Home Sweet Home Artists Studio Baghdad                                                                    1987 Nostalgia Artists Studio London                                                                                  1985 Vibrations from my Past Espace 2000 Paris  

SELECTED PUBLIC & PRIVATE COLLECTIONS

- Al-Mansouria Foundation, Paris France                                                                                   - The British Museum London UK  
- The National Museum for Women in the Arts Washington USA
- Rotterdam Werldmuseum the Netherlands  
- The Barjeel Foundation UAE
- The United Nations Geneva Switzerland  
- University of Michagan-Dearborn USA
- Jeddeh International Airport Saudi Arabia
- HRH Prince of Wales London UK
- The late Sir Wilfred Thesiger UK
- The Hussain Ali Harba Collection Italy & Iraq
- The Husri Collection Jordan
- The Basil al-Rahim Collection UK
- The Agha Khan Collection Canada & UK