Female Artists Reflect on Iraqi Life Through Art Pt. 2

These women came to Iraq from different spots in the world and integrated into the Iraqi culture and life. Their works depict either their love for Iraq or challenge to fit in.


When I Knew That I Will Not See My Mother Again (1982) by Lisa FATTAHIbrahimi Collection

Lisa Fattah (1941 - 1992)

German Artist "Marie-Luise Schiek" or "Lisa Fattah" was born in 1941 in the capital, Oslo, Norway, to parents of German-Swedish origin.
She grew up in a conservative environment where her father was a Christian priest named Helmut Scheik. 

Lisa was known for her rebellious, strong, and stubborn character.
During her studies in 1962 in Italy, she met her colleague, Iraqi artist Ismail Fattah and she graduated with him in the following year. 

Portrait of Artist’s Daughter (1978) by Lisa FATTAHIbrahimi Collection

They got married in Italy after Ismail asked for her father’s permission in Germany on a short trip.
She took the family name of her husband, becoming Lisa Fattah. They moved to Iraq and stayed together for 30 years. Together, they had four children. 

From 1963 until 1964, she studied and trained at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid, Spain.
She participated in many exhibitions inside and outside Iraq.

Blackness Everywhere by Lisa FATTAHIbrahimi Collection

Her father passed away in Germany in 1989 and she went to attend his burial in Germany. 

Her mental state was deteriorating little by little due to the Iran-Iraq war and the death of her father.

Nailed Head (1988) by Lisa FATTAHIbrahimi Collection

In 1990, she was diagnosed with leukemia after suffering from pains in her body and began to take chemotherapy sessions. Her body became swollen and deformed, and her bad condition reflected on her work at this time.

She passed away in 1992 at the age of 51 after a long battle with cancer and was buried in Sheikh Muhammad Al-Sakran cemetery in Baghdad.

Engorged Face (1985) by Lisa FATTAHIbrahimi Collection

Lisa kept the essence, philosophy, momentum, violence, and power of German expressionism with her fiery emotions and harsh strokes; she even ignited, from her warmth and heat, a blazing fire in her artistic productions. 

With her accumulated memory, violence, and rebellion, Lisa Fattah came to embody, before the Iraqi artists of the 1960s generation, German expressionism in its most vivid images,

with the smallest details, the violence of her brushstrokes, and the intensity of her rebellion. 

Self Portrait (1984) by Lisa FATTAHIbrahimi Collection

She might have influenced generations of Iraqi artists despite her little presence through exhibitions and her seclusion in her studio, in which her works were isolated even from her husband Ismail Fattah.

You read Lisa’s paintings as if you were listening to a violent symphony from Strauss, a loud and majestic symphony from Hayden, or a booming opening by Mozart. 

We may have the right to imagine that she might have heard the fiercest symphonies during her work. On the surface of her paintings, spreading her anger and disgust against this life, upon a weak canvas, 

that was not able to bear all this blazing fire, with short, austere yet decisive blows, and with a force not commensurate with that of a soft and tender feminine hand of a mother.

Resume of a Mother (1984) by Lisa FATTAHIbrahimi Collection

Iraqi Artist Rafa Al-Nasiri said of Lisa Fattah: 
“The work of Lisa was in painting on canvas or ink on paper, to distinguish that transparent and hurtful human sentiment;

her figures always in a state of mixed pain and suffering coated with high exhaustive feelings, or at times, they are alone in a state of love and manifestation.”
“Painting was her life and her whole existence.”

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