Hayv Kahraman - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Thursday, October 14, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Person nummer, forms part of Hayv Kahraman’s eight-part series titled How Iraqi Are You? that takes as its source inspiration the Mawamat al Hariri, a twelfth-century illuminated text from the Baghdad school of miniature painting that focused on the everyday life of Iraqis, and in which sexuality is interestingly prominent. In the present example the women lift their skirts, and one offers the other a piece of paper. The black script mirrors the thickness of the strokes, shapes, and angles of the original manuscript as the artist re-learnt how to write in her mother tongue. Reflecting the composition of the illuminated manuscript folios which had been divided with the text either at the bottom or top of the work, in the present example, running along the lower edge it reads: “When you arrive to Sweden you are given a personal identity number ‘person nummer.’ That is pronounced ‘peshoon number.’ In the Iraqi dialect peshoon means vagina”.

    • Provenance

      Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      New York, Jack Shainman Gallery, Hayv Kahraman: How Iraqi Are You?, 27 February - 4 April 2015

    • Literature

      Mallika Rao, 'An Exile From Iraq Paints Herself Into Ancient Manuscripts', Huffpost, 6 March 2015, online (illustrated)
      Alex Zafiris, 'Hayv Kahraman: Inside/Outside', Guernica Mag, 16 March 2015, online (illustrated)


Person nummer

signed with the artist's monogram upper left
oil on linen
243.8 x 185.4 cm (95 7/8 x 72 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2015.

Full Cataloguing

£50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for £81,900

Contact Specialist

Tamila Kerimova
Specialist, Director, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art

+44 20 7318 4065
[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 14 October 2021