We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.





Ahmed Alsoudani


1975 –

  • Details

    Media category
    Mixed media painting
    Materials used
    acrylic and charcoal on canvas
    190.5 x 101.5 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Dr Clinton Ng and Steven Johnston 2023
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Ahmed Alsoudani

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Ahmed Alsoudani

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Born in Baghdad in 1975, Alsoudani witnessed brutal armed conflict during the first Gulf War between Iran and Iraq from 1980 to 1988. In 1995 he moved to Damascus, Syria for four years before relocating to the USA. He studied at the Maine College of Art from 2001 to 2005, while also attending Yale’s Norfolk Summer School of Art where Dana Schutz and Kiki Smith were visiting artists. Following this, Alsoudani pursued a Master of Fine Arts in painting at Yale School of Art, where he studied under Peter Halley, Carol Dunham and Mel Bochner. In 2011 he represented Iraq at the 54th Venice Biennale – the country’s first presentation in 35 years.
    Fragmentation is a key element in Alsoudani’s approach to composition. His amorphous and fractured images are rich in art historical references – from Max Ernst and André Masson to Francis Bacon and Philip Guston – while also relating to his childhood experiences in a warzone. His paintings, however, are not straightforward depictions of conflict. He has stated that he is not interested in “showing blood and war” and his paintings instead explore the psychological impact of his subject, representing war as a surreal and absurd state of being.

    Alsoudani began Untitled by outlining ideas in charcoal on an unprimed canvas before introducing coloured acrylic paint and building the composition in an organic fashion. Cartoon-like figurative elements collide with painterly abstract forms to create a chaotic and visceral tableau. As in many of his paintings, eyes are recurring elements, catching the viewer’s gaze and guiding them around the composition.