Follow us
Dalloul Art Foundation

SERWAN BARAN, Iraq (1968)


Written by Wafa Roz Serwan Baran is an Iraqi Kurdish artist born in 1968 in Baghdad. He studied at the University of Babylon, College of Fine Arts, and graduated in 1992. Following his graduation,...

Written by Wafa Roz

Serwan Baran is an Iraqi Kurdish artist born in 1968 in Baghdad. He studied at the University of Babylon, College of Fine Arts, and graduated in 1992. Following his graduation, the artist taught at The Baghdad University, College of Fine Arts, for seven years. Baran participated at the Summer Academy at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan, in 2000, during which he benefited from the mentorship of Syrian master modernist Marwan Kassab-Bachi. He later became a member of the International Association of Art, the Iraqi Fine Artists’ Association, and the International Network for Contemporary Iraqi Artists.

Throughout his post-secondary education, Baran drew inspiration from the environment surrounding the University of Babylon. The institution situated amidst the ruins of the ancient city, the artist was immersed in the legacy of one of the richest civilizations of the ancient world, absorbing the mythology and visual culture of the Babylonians. 

Baran’s interest in the histories of the distant past led him to Nimrud, an ancient Assyrian city just south of Mosul, in a quest to find the remains of the legendary tower of Babel. Though evidence of the great tower never emerged, the artist was thrilled when he found an impressive mud structure that stood 400 meters tall. This place became an almost sacred site for the artist, who visited and painted it many times.

After college, the artist attended classes at the University of Baghdad taught by Faik Hassan, by that point, a well-established and influential figure in the region. Though his training had not bound him to the constraints of the techniques that dominated Hassan’s curriculum, Baran still learned a great deal from the prominent artist. Under his tutelage, he discovered the aesthetic power of reductive forms and free lines and further explored the expressive language of color. Baran’s exposure to the clay-rich soil and ancient ruins of Iraq is reflected in his preferred color palette, which draws primarily from earthy browns, reds, and ochres.

During the 1990s, Baran produced works depicting the diverse popular culture of Iraq, incorporating elements of both realism and expressionism into his paintings in varying degrees. Fusing folkloric scenes with daily social happenings, he painted Bedouins in colorful outfits, rural celebrations, aged working men in old souks, and shepherds in natural landscapes. He created pictures that integrated the bitter and the blessed in the Iraqi social panorama, exploring the human condition across all strata of society. Throughout his career, Baran would reflect on political themes as well, conveying his cynical views in strident iconography. Numbers appear in his paintings as symbols of dehumanization, alluding to the reduction of citizens to statistics by careless governments, and distorted portraits of military generals suggest the ethical corruption and hypocrisy of war. 

Nearing 2000, Baran had quenched his thirst for social and cultural exploration. He focused more on illustrating horses in motion, accentuating the movement of his gestural brushstrokes and fluidity of his lines. His style began to stray from the semi-realistic, dense compositions, adopting more playful, expressive elements that drifted into figurative abstraction. Though he had painted primarily in oil up until this point, the artist began to experiment with acrylic paint, drawn to the medium by its sensual fluidity.

Since 2003, Baran’s approach has become one of dialogue, juxtaposition, and, above all, experimentation. He has strayed further into abstraction and delved into more vulnerable subject matters, exploring tension, anxiety, and eroticism in recent work. Baran’s latest solo exhibitions have illustrated developments in style as well as the content of his work. In 2013’s Living on the Edge, held by Nabad Gallery in Amman, the artist commented on the contemporary state of the region in a series of emotionally-charged composite portraits, characterized by the high contrast between vibrantly-colored figures and somber, monochromatic backgrounds. These paintings convey existential angst through the artist’s dry humor, populated by exaggerated, distorted characters that variously fuse into one another and pull apart. The sense of disorientation fostered by these paintings is at once personal and social, evoking themes of romance and isolation as well as frustration with contemporary politics. In Canines, hosted by the Agial Gallery in Beirut in 2018, the artist also presented canvases replete with the fusion of bodies; this time, however, the bodies belonged to dogs. Painted in tones simultaneously brilliant and earthy, in brush strokes simultaneously fluid and rough, the paintings explore the capacity of acrylic paint for varying levels of transparency in frenzied images of hounds scrambling as well as sober, skeletal portraits.

The artist currently resides in Beirut. 


سيروان باران: استثمرنا محليتنا العراقية وقدمناها كتجربة إلى العالم،-   اسكندر حبش Accessed December 12,2017. 

AlDoha Magazine. Accessed December 12, 2017.

الجديد, الصباح. "“موجو”.. سيروان باران يختزل صراع البشر مع الحياة والموت." جريدة الصباح الجديد. October 04, 2015. Accessed December 12, 2017.

"التشكيلي العراقي سيروان باران: المغامرة تؤسس لإنجازاتي الإبداعية." الرئيسية. Accessed December 12, 2017.

داوود, سامي. "أشكال منزوعة الإطار في أعمال سيروان باران." Almodon. Accessed December 12, 2017.

Zayni, Ali. -: Accessed December 12, 2017.

Nader, Suheil Sami. Press. Serwan December 12, 2017.

Buland al-Haidari, "Jawad Salim and Faiq Hassan and the Birth of Modern Art in Iraq," in Modern Art Iraq Archive, Item #170, (accessed December 12, 2017).

YouTube Sources

Interview with the Artist 
Uploaded by: Ghassan Art

Description of the Artist’s Profile:  
Uploaded and Presented by: Marwan Alduleme Yassin


Selected Solo Exhibitions


Indelible Memory, Galerie Misr, Cairo, Egypt
Harsh Beauty,
Saleh Barakat Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon


Fatherland, Solo exhibition at the Iraq pavilion, Venice Biennale, Italy 


Canines, Agial, Beirut, Lebanon


Livingon the Edge, Nabad Art Gallery, Amman, Jordan
Elected, Matisse Art Gallery, Morocco


Whispers, Orfali Art Gallery, Amman, Jordan


Duhok Gallery, Duhok, Iraq


Saradam Gallery, Sulaymania, Iraq


Art House Gallery, Damascus, Syria
Tche Wa Gallery, Tokyo, Japan


Orfali Art Gallery, Amman, Jordan


Dominican Republic


Dar Al Anda gallery, Amman, Jordan


Al Riwaq Gallery, Baghdad, Iraq

Selected Group Exhibitions 


Objects of imagination, Contemporary Arab Ceramics exhibition, The Jordan National Galleries of Fine Arts, Amman, Jordan
Speaking Across Mountains: Kurdish Artists in Dialogue,the Middle East Institute (MEI Art Gallery), Washington DC, USA
13th. Cairo Biennale, Cairo, Egypt


Face Value: a brief history of portraiture in Lebanon, Saleh Barakat Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon


Ourouba: The Eye Of Lebanon, Group exhibition at the Beirut Art Fair, curated by Rose Issa, Beirut, Lebanon


Codes, Serwan Baran and Cheikhou Ba, Mojo Gallery, Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai, UAE


Group Exhibition For : " Muhanna Al-Dura , Abdel Raouf Chamoun , Mohammad Al-Ameri And Serwan Baran, Orient Gallery, Amman, Jordan
Al Markhiya Gallery, Doha, Qatar


Albareh Art Gallery, Bahrain
Dar Al-Anda Gallery, Amman, Jordan
Marrakech Biennale, Morocco


Al Kharafi Biennale, Kuwait
Al Riwaq Art Space, Bahrain


10x10, Orfali Art Gallery, Amman, Jordan


Modern Iraqi Art Exhibition, Iraq


Khanji Gallery, Aleppo, Syria


Baghdad, Iraq International Biennale, Baghdad, Iraq


Cairo Biennale, Egypt


Hewar Gallery, Baghdad, Iraq

1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995

Iraqi Modern Art exhibition, Amman -  Cyprus - Qatar



Honorary Medal, Cairo 7th Biennial, Egypt
Discretionary award of Baghdad Biennial, Iraq 


Golden Prize, Iraqi Contemporary Art Exhibition, Iraq


Second Prize, Iraqi Contemporary Art Exhibition, Iraq


First Prize for youth, Baghdad, Iraq


Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon
Ibrahimi Collection, Jordan, Amman

Natasha Gasparian
Agial Art Gallery, English/Arabic, 2018

Exhibition catalogue

فنان الجمال والقسوة  فاروق يوسف  صحيفة العرب.pdf
التشكيلي المبدع: “سيروان باران” جدران وأشياء ملاذ لدواخل مكبوتة
Mona Merii
Arts Gulf, Arabic, 2012
سيروان باران، ساحر العوالم الغريبة
Farid Al Zahi
Al Araby, Arabic, 2015
أشكال منزوعة الإطار في أعمال سيروان باران
Sami Dawoud
Al Modon, Arabic, 2017
الفن العراقي في وجه الهمجية
Houssam aL Saray
Al Akhbar, Arabic, 2014
الفنان سیروان باران..ظلال الجسد ورموزه
Najeh Al Maamoury
Al Mada, Arabic, 2012
الرسم يحتاج إلى عاطفة عالية لكن ا لأهم من ذلك هو العلم
Iskandar Habash
As Safir, Arabic, 2010
سيروان باران .. - جريدة تاتوو
Hassan Abdel Hamid
Tatoo, Arabic, 2014
التشكيلي العراقي سيروان باران: المغامرة تؤسس لإنجازاتي الإبداعية
Asharq Al Awsat, Arabic, 2015
Passion & mass
Suhail Nader
Serwan Baran web site, English
الفنان التشكيلي سيروان باران الخروج عن المألوف و نقل إنفعالاته بذهنية كائناته
Gharib Malla Zalal
Al Sada. Net, Arabic
سيروان باران ساحر الرسم الذي يلهو بممتلكات يديه
Farouk Yousef
Al Arab, Arabic, 2018
سیروان باران في معرض "ھمسات سریة"
Faika Rasoul Serhan
Iraq Hurr, Arabic, 2012
غرابة بمذاق الطفولة
MEO, Arabic, 2013
سيروان باران.. طفل عابث يشوِّه يشوِّه الدمى
Anis Alrafei
Al Doha Magazine, Arabic, 2013
الفنان العراقي الكردي سيروان باران يعرض بمراكش
Shafic Al Zakary
Maghress, Arabic, 2013
Des chiens et des hommes, ‘Caninesʼ de Serwan Baran
Agenda Culturel, French
سيروان باران في بيروت... معرّياً زيف البروباغندا!
Al Akhbar, Arabic, 2020
A Harsh Beauty
Gallery Magazine, English, 2020
Selections Magazine, English, 2020
فنان الجمال والقسوة
Farouk Youssef
Al Arab, Arabic, 2020
"تركة الحرب الثقيلة" في لوحات الفنان العراقي سيروان باران
Al Ain, Arabic, 2020
"ذاكرة لا تُمحى" معرض للفنان سيروان باران
Imad Abdel Maksoud
Rose Al YOUSOF, French, 2020
أعمال التشكيلي سيروان باران: التعبيرية الحديثة وسرد مآسي العراق
Mohammad Abdel Rahim
Al Quds, Arabic, 2020
"ذاكرة لا تمحى" للعراقي سيروان باران في جاليري مصر
Al Ain, Arabic, 2020
«ذاكرة لا تُمحى»... جرائم حرب توثقها ريشة سيروان باران
Ahmed Al Jammal
Al Jarida, Arabic, 2020
Group Exhibition For : " Muhanna Al-Dura , Abdel Raouf Chamoun , Mohammad Al-Ameri And Serwan Baran
Orient Gallery, English
Rose Issa
Beirut Art Fair, English, 2017
Lipsticks et barbelés: les artistes du monde arabe se regardent en face à Beyrouth
Delphine Minoui
Le Figaro, French, 2017
Beirut Art Fair’s eighth edition highlights collectors’ choices
Samar Kadi
The art weekly, English, 2017
Arab identity at heart of Beirut Art Fair
Florence Massena 
Al Monitor, English, 2017
La Foire de Beyrouth revendique sa liberté de ton
 Roxana Azimi
Le Monde, French, 2017
In a troubled region, Lebanon is a growing hub for artists
Tim Cornwell
The art Newspaper, English, 2017
Arab artists respond to dictatorship, surveillance and civil war at Beirut Art Fair
Tim Cornwell
The Art Newspaper, English, 2017
Beirut Art Fair looks at regionʼs history
Magie Ghali
The Daily Star, English, 2017
At Beirut Art Fair, artists reflect on what it means to be Arab
India Stoughton
The National, English, 2017
Beyrouth, ville refuge et poumon de la création artistique de la région
Clotilde Scordia
Happening Media, French, 2017
"Objects of imagination, Contemporary Arab Ceramics exhibition "
The Jordan National Galleries of Fine Arts, 2019
"كائنات المخيال" معـرض خزف عربي في عمّان
Khaled hreiss
Al Arab, Arabic, 2019


Related with SERWAN BARAN

Become a Member

Join us in our endless discovery of modern and contemporary Arab art

We’re GDPR compliant.
TermsCookiesPrivacy Policies