Born in Baghdad in 1981, Hayv Kahraman left Iraq at the early age of ten to live in Sweden with her family. Having studied graphic design at the Academy of Art and Design in Florence (Italy 2005), she then completed a course in web design at the University of Umea (Sweden 2006), before settling in the United States where she currently lives and works.
With recall to her travels between the East and the West, the artist signs her pieces with Arabic lettering: Asfaar Hayv –Hayv’s journey- inscribed like the seal traditionally found in Chinese art. Influenced as much by the Italian renaissance as by Art Nouveau, Hayv Kahraman also revisits the schools and aesthetic traditions which stem from Islamic, Chinese and Japanese art, and freely combines Persian miniatures with Greco-Roman iconography, or fashion drawing and graphics. In the contrasting hues of a simplified palette, her figurative pieces tell the story of womanhood in the Middle East and travel across the world: from Sweden to Iraq, from the United States to Europe, as far as the Arab Emirates.
Shown notably at the Sharjah Biennial (2009), her work also attracted notice in the exhibition Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East presented by the Saatchi gallery in London (2009), and more recently in Lille as part of the exhibition Silk Road (2011), and at the Villa Empain in Brussels in the exhibition The Modesty and Anger of Women (2011) organised by the Boghossian foundation.