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Artist of the week: Dilshad Questani


Dilshad Questani was born in 1957 in Kirkuk, Iraqi Kurdistan. He is a painter, musician and actor that currently lives in Britany, France.

Dilshad has always enjoyed the arts. He started signing when he was five years old and completed his first painting at 16. He was shy with showing his art to others at first, although it was always received with positive feedback. When he was 21 years old, Dilshad joined the Peshmerga forces in the fight against Saddam Hussein. This experience as a fighter inspired his art in the future. While he never studied the arts, he had always felt the need to express himself through them.

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In 1998, he moved to France as a refugee, and he has lived there ever since. He is now a citizen of France. While it was considered shameful to live from selling artworks in Kurdistan, it was different for him when he moved to France. His first exhibit was in 1999, only six months after his arrival. Since, Dilshad has devoted his life to painting. He had exhibited his work in 18 countries, including Kurdistan in 2017. In 2009, he opened his own art gallery in the French town of Chaumont.

According to French critic Christian Noorbergen, “Dilshad Questani’s lyrism is omnipresent, archaic and underground. It comes from within. In the bright, radiant and incandescent paintings, songs of the world and songs of art are merging. In this tense art spread as the universe, there is no horizon. The horizon is everywhere”.

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Oil on canvas – 93×74 – Sun bathed clearing – 2016 Private Collection – Kurdistan – Irak

When I interviewed Dilshad, he explained that he takes inspiration from the memories of his homeland. Using techniques that he learned studying the artists that most inspire him – Monet and Renoir – he works with oils on canvas to create dramatic landscapes filled with unique colours and textures. Dilshad mentioned that his way of continuing the fight for Kurdish freedom was through his art now. That is why the land of Kurdistan is so prominent in his pieces.

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Homage to Monet – Oil on canvas – 70 x 60 – 2016 Private Collection – Cairo – Egypt

Oil on canvas – Emotions – 54×73

Dilshad does not have a favourite art piece of his. For him, his art is a direct reflection of who he was at the time he made it. He feels personal attachment to his work because it is a way of connecting with his origins. While political activism is not the main goal of his work, he delivers a strong message about the beauty of Kurdistan.

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Oil on canvas – Promised Land – 54×73 – 2012

For the future, Dilshad plans to continue his artistic pursuits. He would like to continue exhibiting his work in multiple countries, including the United States.

To find out more about Dilshad, find his digital book online: https://www.saatchiart.com/dilshadquestani .


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