Dr. Khalid Al-Qassab - Artist Bio

Photograph of the artist, Dr. Khalid Al-Qassab, featured in his published work, "Artistic Memories."

Image of Dr. Khalid Al-Qassab, the artist, as depicted in his 2007 publication, 'Artistic Memories'

In a Few Words

Born In: Baghdad, Iraq, 1924

Deceased: Amman, Jordan, 2004

Background: Dr. Al-Qassab's academic journey commenced with his graduation from Medical School in 1946. His pursuit of excellence led to prestigious fellowships, including one from the Royal College of Surgeons in London (1954) and another at New York's Memorial Hospital to specialise in cancer surgery (1958). Remarkably, alongside his medical studies, he nurtured a deep-seated passion for the world of art.

Style & Media: In his artistic portfolio, Dr. Khalid Al-Qassab skilfully employed watercolours and oil paints, showcasing a diverse range of styles. From his evocative portrayal of pastoral scenes to his stunning use of vibrant colours in his still-life masterpieces, his work resonates with both versatility and dept.

Themes: In Dr. Khalid Al-Qassab's artistic tapestry, we find a harmonious blend of tradition and modernity, evoking the rich artistic legacy of Ancient Mesopotamia and Islamic art. His work seamlessly integrates Western art influences, often juxtaposing Islamic themes with Byzantine motifs or reimagining Assyrian bas-reliefs to create monumental masterpieces. Al-Qassab's artistic vision is distinctly Iraqi, designed to inspire his fellow countrymen and women, offering them not only admiration but a profound connection to their unique reality. His canvases are infused with the spirit of the Iraqi land, vividly painted with its authentic colours.

In a Few More Words

Born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1924, Dr. Khalid Al-Qassab was a multifaceted individual, known for his exceptional contributions both in the field of medicine and art. He showcased an unwavering commitment to both fields, leaving an enduring imprint on the realms of surgery and the visual arts.

Dr. Al-Qassab's journey into the field of medicine commenced following his high school graduation, driven by his parents' aspirations. His dedication to the medical profession led him to serve in the Iraqi army, with deployments in Palestine and Jordan during the 1940s. Graduating from Medical School in 1946, he earned the qualifications to become a revered surgeon.

A testament to his unwavering commitment to both his country and his profession, Dr. Al-Qassab persevered through challenging conditions, performing surgeries during power outages caused by damage sustained during the Gulf War and subsequent U.N. sanctions. His resilience and unwavering dedication vividly exemplified the strength and dignity of the Iraqi people, a theme eloquently mirrored in his artistic creations. Driven by a deep-seated love for art, Dr. Al-Qassab, in the early 1940s, played a pivotal role in the establishment of the "Société Primitive," later recognised as the Pioneer Group. In unison with a close-knit circle of kindred spirits, they wholeheartedly pursued a variety of artistic ventures, fearlessly venturing on painting excursions, their commitment unfaltering even in the face of adverse weather conditions. In 1950, the first exhibition of the Société Primitive took place within the walls of Dr. Al-Qassab's childhood home in Baghdad.

Dr. Al-Qassab's contributions to the art community extended beyond the Société Primitive. In 1956, he co-founded the Iraqi Artists Association and assumed the role of its first general secretary. Furthermore, in 1967, he was one of the founding members of the Baghdad Association for Iraqi Heritage. In recognition of his significant artistic accomplishments, the Ministry of Information held a Retrospective Exhibition for him in 1990, bestowing upon him the Gold Medal. At the age of eighty, on July 22, 2004, Dr. Khalid Al-Qassab passed away in Amman, Jordan, finding his eternal resting place in the Sahab Cemetery. Dr. Al-Qassab's enduring legacy serves as a testament to the boundless possibilities of a life dedicated to both medicine and art, continuing to inspire and captivate audiences while honoring the rich tapestry of his Iraqi heritage.

Key Exhibitions

  • First Exhibition of the Société Primitive (Pioneer Group), Karadat Maryam, Baghdad (1948)
  • Sina Festival, Baghdad, Iraq (1952)
  • Iraqi Art Gallery, Bandung, Indonesia (1956)
  • Iraqi Contemporary Art Exhibition, UNESCO Hall, Beirut, Lebanon (1957)
  • Baghdad Exhibition for Painting and Sculpture, A-Mansour Club, Baghdad, Iraq (1958)
  • Al-Wasiti Festival, Baghdad, Iraq (1982)
  • Artists Association Exhibition, Walnut Creek, California, USA (1998)
  • Water Colour Exhibition, San Francisco Cultural Center, California, USA (1999)
  • Retrospective Exhibition of Pioneers' Artists, UNESCO Hall, Amman, Jordan (2001)

    Awards and Honors

    • Golden Sail Award, Arab Biennale, Kuwait (1983)
    • Sail Prize, Ankara European Eurasian Biennale, Turkey (1990)
    • Sharjah International Biennale for Fine Art, Sharjah, UAE (1996)

    View Available Artworks