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Hanaa Malallah (1958-) is an artist, researcher and educator based in London. Born in Iraq, she studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad, and later earned an MA and PhD from the University of Baghdad. In her graduate work, she developed a semiotic approach to art, receiving a doctorate in 2005 for a thesis that uses forms of logic elaborated by modern philosophy to examine the art of ancient Mesopotamia. Malallah left Iraq at the end of 2006 for an artist residency at the Institut du monde arabe in Paris; that was followed by fellowships at the School of Oriental and African Studies and the Chelsea College of Art in London. Before leaving Iraq, she taught at the Institute of Fine Arts and the University of Baghdad; in recent years she has taught at the Royal University for Women in Bahrain.

Since the early 1990s, Malallah has tried to think through destruction as an essential part of the human condition, by treating the material she works with as found objects that she mutilates or disfigures according to what she came to conceptualize in 2007 as a ‘ruins technique’. This reflection on destruction has drawn on Malallah’s research on semiotics, and on the material culture of ancient Mesopotamia, but more recently it has shifted its focus from objects to landscapes, and it has explored the ‘virtual’ aspects of destruction: the temporality of decay, the survival of material, and the paradoxical appearance of invisibility within the visible. Her research on the virtual has led her more recently to examine the relationship between spiritualism and technology.


2008 – Post Graduate Certificate In Islamic & Modern Art: SOAS University 
(Art & Archaeology Dept); Certificate in Academic English (Reading & Writing); Delivering seminar (Ruins Technique in Contemporary Iraqi Art)

2005 – PHD / Doctorate degree in the Philosophy of Painting, Baghdad University 
Thesis title: Logic Order in Ancient Mesopotamian Painting

2000 – MA in Painting: Baghdad University

1988 – BA in Painting: Academy of Fine Arts, Baghdad

1979 – Diploma in Graphic Art: Institute of Fine Arts, Baghdad


Solo Exhibitions

2023 – Remnants at The Cube, ASC Studios, Croydon

2022 – Ruins, Rubble and Renewal, Salah Al Hithni Museum, Iraq

2022 – The 2Rs: Ruins and Rubble, Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman

2022 – Co-Existent Ruins, The Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London

2021 – Rising Above The Storm On A Kite, The Park Gallery, London

2021 – She/He Has No Picture, The Park Gallery, London

2019 – From Figurative to Abstraction, The Park Gallery, London

2018 – Without Name, But, Numbers, Albareh Art Gallery, Bahrain

2017 – Drone Hits Ziggurat of UR, Al Rewaq Art Space, Bahrain

2016 – Biohazard, DOLPH projects, London

2014 – Works on Paper, The Park Gallery, London

2013 – The Park Gallery, London

2012 – Inception Gallery, Paris

2009 – Vivid Ruins, The Mosaic Rooms, Qattan Foundation, London

2006 – Albareh Art Gallery, Bahrain

2005 – Anda Gallery, Amman

2002 – Anda Gallery, Amman

1999 – Drawing, Athar Gallery, Baghdad

1998 – Schedules and Signals, Athar Gallery, Baghdad

1996 – Icons of Environment, Hiwar Art Gallery, Baghdad

1995 – Abaad Gallery, Amman

1994 – Pursuing the Trace, Atelier Nadhar, Baghdad

1993 – Baghdad: Geography People Symbols, Centre for Arts, Baghdad

1991 – Museum Visits Documents, Centre for Arts, Baghdad


Group Exhibitions

2023 – Artifacts Also Die, OI Museum, University of Chicago, USA

2023 – Surviving the Long Wars: Reckon and Reimagine, Chicago Cultural Center, USA

2022 – Ruins, Rubble and Renewal, Salah Al Hithni Museum, Iraq

2022 – Co-Existent Ruins, The Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London

2019 – Refuge and Renewal: Migration and British Art, RWA, Bristol, United Kingdom

2019 – Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991–2011, MoMA, New York

2019 – The Spirit of the Poet, Zentrum für verfolgte Künste im Kunstmuseum Solingen, Germany

2018 – Bagdad mon Amour, Institut des Cultures d'Islam, Paris

2017 – Thread of Light, P21 Gallery, London

2017 – The Role in Empowering Women, The Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Jordan

2017 – Arabesque, Curated by Hanaa Malallah, The Royal University for Women, Bahrain

2017 – National Museum of Bahrain

2016 – Biohazard, Baghdad

2016 – Art in Motion, Beirut

2014 – Reflections of War, Flowers, London

2014 – A Tribute to Rafa Nasiri, Nabha Gallery, Amman

2013 – Meem Gallery, Dubai

2013 – Contemporary Art Platform, Kuwait

2013 – Ten Year After: Reflections on the Invasion of Iraq, Project and exhibition, Chelsea College of Arts & Design London University, London

2012 – Iraq: How, Where, for Whom? with Kennardphillips, Qattan Foundation, The Mosaic Rooms, London

2011 – Swiss Re (Gherkin), London

2011 – Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah

2011 – Art in Iraq Today (Conclusion Show), Meem Gallery, Dubai

2011 – Art in Iraq Today, Beirut Exhibition Centre, Beirut

2010 – Art in Iraq Today, Meem Gallery, Dudai

2010 – Beyond The War, LTMH Gallery, New York

2009 – The Recessionists, Somerset, England

2009 – Modernism and Iraq, Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University in the City of New York

2008 – Iraqi Artist in Exile, Station Museum, USA

2008 – Iraq’s Past Speaks to the Present, British Museum

2007 – Sophisticated Ways: Distruction of an Ancient City, Ayagallery, London

2007 – Green Zone Red Zone, Gemak Den Haag, Holland

2005 – Contemporary Iraqi Book Art, UAS, Texas College 

2005 – Contemporary Iraqi Exhibition, Paris 

2005 – Iraqi Exhibition, East and West Foundation, Holland 

2004 – Celebrating the Creativity of the Collaboration Between Iraqi Art and Literature, Frankfurt 

2004 – Homage to Shakir Hassan, Orfly Art Gallery, Amman

2003 – Miniatures of Iraqi Art, Dijlah Gallery, Baghdad

2003 – The Hundredth, Hiwar Gallery, Baghdad

2003 – Before. After. Now, Deluxe Gallery, Hoxton Square, London

2003 – Women Artists from the Islamic Wold, Spain, UNESCO Paris

2003 – Tawashujat: Between Poet and Artists, The Jordan National Gallery of FineArts, Amman

2003 – Expressions of Hope: Iraqi Art, Ayagallery, London

2002 – Contemporary Iraqi Art in China

2002 – Baghdad International Festival for Contemporary Art

2002 – Conference of Creative Arab Women, Tunisia

2000 – Strokes of Genius: Contemporary Iraqi Art, Brunei Gallery, London

2000 – Contemporary Iraqi Art, Institute du Monde Arabe, Paris

2000 – Significance of Experimentation, Baghdad Gallery, Baghdad

2000 – Co-Exhibition, Ghassan Ghaeb and Kareem Risan, Ather Gallary, Baghdad

Art Fairs

2021 – Intersect Palm Springs, USA

2019 – Abu Dhabi Art Fair

2019 – Beirut Art Fair

2018 – Dubai Art Fair

2017 – Beirut Art Fair

2016 – Abu Dhabi Art Fair

2015 – Abu Dhabi Art Fair

2015 – Art15, London

2015 – Sluice, London

2014 – Art14, London

2013 – Abu Dhabi Art Fair

2013 – Scope Basel Art Fair

2012 – Abu Dhabi Art Fair

2010 – Dubai Art Fair


Museum Acquisitions

Centre for Arts, Baghdad

The Royal Jordanian Museum

The British Museum

Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art

Barjeel Art Foundation

Imperial War Museum, London

Dalloul Art Foundation (DAF), Beirut

Artist's Residencies

May 2022 – al Mawrid Arab Center for the Study of Art. NYU Abu Dhabi

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