Shaker Al-Alousi

Born in 1962, Al Alousi received his Bachelor of Arts in Painting from the Academy of Fine Art at the University of Baghdad (’98) and his Master’s in Painting from the College of Fine Arts (’01) in Baghdad, Iraq. Based in Baltimore, Maryland, Al Alousi’s artwork is rooted in the folk culture of Iraqi art, and his unique method has been reimagining folk culture in modern impressionist drawings that evoke the Arab homeland. Influenced by a pioneer of modern Iraqi art, the late Jawad Salim, Al Alousi is one of the most preeminent artists to emerge from the Impressionist Baghdadi School of Art. “Shakir’s style is so skillful in bringing out the hidden aspects of folklore and making it visually appealing,” the renowned Arab novelist, poet, and painter Jabra Ibrahim Jabra said about Al Alousi’s Oil on Canvas paintings, “In taking what has been tucked away in the old Baghdad dwellings and bringing it out for all of us to see.” Al Alousi’s art is a mastery of the sensual blending of color and movement, of everyday life enlivened with spirit and warmth and an empathic touch toward the common man and woman. Speaking about his work, Al Alousi related, “I like to work around the lives of people. Everyday stories. Everyday activities and just the daily routines.” Many of his paintings hark back to the Baghdad of the 1950s and ‘60s, but for Al Alousi “it is not a form of escapism, but more a form of remembrance.” For a country whose recent history has been rocked by so much tragedy and turmoil, Al Alousi’s vivid and tranquil paintings serve, in his words, as “a document of that beautiful era. . . . It is a hope that the country will be able to settle again.”