Local Game

©Hayv Kahraman. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Hayv Kahraman
Local Game
243.8 x 152.4 cm
oil on linen

Born in Iraq and being a refugee due to the First Gulf War when she was eleven, Hayv Kahraman migrated to Sweden and subsequently learned art in Italy. Influenced by miniature paintings of Bagdad school in the 12th or 13th century, paintings of Renaissance, and Sumi-e, Japanese ink paintings, her work addresses radicalized gender and body politics, migrant consciousness, and the marginal spaces of diasporic life with a detailed brushstroke and a traditional composition.

Depicting five female figures surrounding a square, the artwork titled Local Game with the Arabic text attached below implies that they are cynically playing out the political situation between the US and Iraq on a chessboard. She applies the motif of a chessboard which has been depicted as a symbol of politics in Western cultures from the past. Kahraman criticizes the current political situation related to her own identity by having deadpan females play it. Females on the painting do not wear Hijab, a religious worn by Muslim female, and thier skins are exposed to the spectator, which suggests the artist’s intention towards the identity of female.

(Commentary & Translation: Tomoya Iwata)