This salient work was produced in Italy, where Fattah came to study on account of Selim’s tutelage in the 1950s. According to the Iraqi modernist Dia Azzawi "it was Fattah’s relationship with Selim that paved the way for the young artist and convinced him to look beyond the obvious and to explore his ability to create a style that would be different from that of his contemporaries" (Dia Azzawi quoted in: www.onefineart.com/artists/painters/Ismail-Fattah). Selim, who himself studied in Rome, personally requested the Iraqi Minister of Education to sponsor Fattah’s further education in Rome. Accordingly, Fattah came to train in Rome’s Accademia di Belle Arti and Accademia San Giocomo. The year Fattah produced this distinctive work also accorded with his success in Rome. The early 1960s reflected a time in which Fattah had achieved recognition and won several prizes in Italy, such as the first prize in sculpture in a competition for Arab artists in 1962, and the first prize for sculpture for foreign artists in Italy in 1963.
Upon Fattah’s repatriation to Baghdad in 1965, traces of Selim’s influence on Fattah’s artistic vision and approach continued to persevere. Resembling Selim’s earlier initiatives, Fattah invested himself in several social collectives committed to pan-Arab movements and artistic expression. Fattah was a founding member of the New Vision Group, which focused on creating a new revolutionary and human-based art, emphasising the importance of referencing cultural heritage with a regional as opposed to local focus. Ultimately, Fattah’s work reflected his belief in the importance of development within a pan-Arab cultural solidarity.
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