Since relocating to Syria in the late 1990s, Riyadh Neama has employed an expressionist style in emphatic compositions that often relate back to the political strife of his native Iraq. Describing a key element of his recent works, which include a series of paintings depicting the children of post-invasion Iraq in the streets of fragmented Baghdad, Neama explains ‘I’m always trying to show the relationship between stasis and movement, between a still life and a moving life.’ The children in motion of his compositions reflect daily resilience and stand as witnesses to war. Neama’s use of colour symbolises various aspects of the war-torn country, particularly the degree to which incessant conflict has affected its people. Grey, black, and white dominate the canvas as indications of destruction and are punctuated by areas of bright green, which describes grief, and red, which signifies desire, resulting in psychologically laden compositions.
Born in 1968 in Baghdad, Iraq, Riyadh Neama currently lives and works in Damascus, Syria. Neama graduated from Baghdad University’s Faculty of Fine Arts and has exhibited throughout the Middle East and Europe, including at Rafia Gallery, Damascus (2011) and Courtyard Gallery, Dubai (2009).