Madiha Umar

Country: Iraq

Title:  At the Concert

Medium: Ink on glazed surface/white scratch board

Size: 31.25 x 41.25 cm

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Umar was born in Aleppo, Syria. She studied at the Maria Grey Training College in London, graduating with honors in 1933. She also studied and taught art in Baghdad, Iraq during the 1930's. Continuing her training in Washington, DC, Umar received a degree in Art Education from George Washington University, and a master's degree in Fine Arts from the Corcoran School of Art in 1950. She is a teacher and public lecturer as well as an active artist. Umar pioneered the modern use of Arabic calligraphy in abstract painting. Her work has received critical acclaim and has been included in many books on the history of art. She has had radio interviews on the BBC and Voice of America.

Her selected solo exhibitions include: Turkish Cultural Center, Baghdad, Iraq, 1971; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Baghdad, 1968; Friends of the Middle East, New York, 1962; University Graduates Club, Washington, DC, 1961; Garden Gallery, Middle East Institute, Washington, DC, 1958; Middle East Club, Washington, DC, 1958; Galerie Fritz, Beirut, Lebanon, 1954; Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, 1951; International Orientalist Congress, University of Istanbul, Turkey, 1951; Arts Club, Washington, DC, 1950; Ginn Gallery, Silver Spring, Maryland, 1949; Abstract Painting and Arabic Calligraphy, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1949; and Peabody Room, Georgetown University Library, Washington, DC, 1949.

Her selected group exhibitions include: Forces of Change: Artists of the Arab World, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, 1994; Arabic Calligraphy in Modern Art, Iraqi Cultural Center, London, 1981; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Baghdad, 1971; Visual Artists of Iraq, National Museum, Baghdad, 1968; Arab Artists, Middle East Institute, Washington, DC, 1960; Wives of the Diplomats, T.F.A. Gallery, Washington, DC, 1958; Drawing and Sculpture, UNESCO, Beirut, 1955; Corcoran Annual, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1949; and Watercolors, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 1948.
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