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Maliheh Afnan was born in 1935 to Persian parents in Haifa, Palestine, where she lived until 1949. Her family then moved to Beirut, where she went to high school and later graduated with a BA from the American University of Beirut in 1955. In 1956 she moved to Washington DC, where she graduated with an MA in Fine Arts at the Corcoran School of Art (1962). From 1963-66 she lived in Kuwait and then returned to Beirut, where she lived until 1974. She spent the following 23 years in Paris, where she had numerous exhibitions, before settling in London in 1997, where she lived until 2016.

Afnan has had several solo shows, including "Speak Memory" (curated by Lutz Becker), Rose Issa Projects (2013); “Traces, Faces, Places”, Rose Issa Projects (2010) to celebrate the publication of her book of the same name; “Selected Works: 1960-2006” (2006) and “Maliheh Afnan: Retrospective” (2000), both at England & Co, London; and also solo exhibitions at Galerie Mouvances, Paris (1996); Théâtre de Beyrouth, Beirut and Galerie 10 Bonaparte, Paris (both 1994); Leighton House Museum, London (1993); Galerie Arcadia, Paris (1987); A&A Turner Galerie, Paris (1982); Galerie Brigitte Schehadé, Paris (1980); Galerie Principe-Anne Merlet, Paris (1978); Galerie Cyrus, Paris, presented by Michel Tapié (1974); and Galerie Claire Brambach, Basel, presented by Mark Tobey (1971).

She has participated in numerous group exhibitions around the world, including "What Remains", Rose Issa Projects, London (2014); "Asemic: Henri Michaux, Maliheh Afnan, Fathi Hassan, Lutz Becker", Cultuurcentrum Brugge, Belgium (2014); "The Blue Route: Journeys and Beauty from the Mediterranean to China" at the Boghossian Foundation, Brussels (2013); "Hope Map", Cuulturcentrum, Bruges (2013); "Persian for Beginners", Rose Issa Projects (2012); “The Art of Writing”, Kurhaus Kolonnade, Wiesbaden (2011); "Zendegi: Twelve Contemporary Iranian Artists" (curated by Rose Issa Projects) at the Beirut Exhibition Center (2011); “Miragens”, a touring exhibition at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Brasilia (2010-11); “Modern Times – Responding to Chaos”, at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge and De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea (2010); “Taswir: Pictorial Mappings of Islam and Modernity”, Martin Gropius Bau Museum, Berlin (2009); “Contained Thoughts”, Courtauld Institute of Art, London (2008); “Re-Orientations: Contemporary Arab Representations”, European Parliament, Brussels (2008); “Routes”, Waterhouse & Dodd, London; “Word into Art”, DIFC, Dubai (2008 – previously at The British Museum, London, 2006); “The Dance of Pen and Ink”, The State Museum of Oriental Art, Moscow and The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg (2007-08); “Iranian Contemporary Art”, Curve Gallery, Barbican Centre, London (2001); “Salon de Réalités Nouvelles”, Espace Eiffel Branly, Paris (1997 and 1984); “Traditions of Respect: Britain and Islamic Cultures” (The British Council, 1997); “Salon du Dessin et de la Peinture à l’Eau”, Espace Eiffel Branly, Paris (1995); “Salon d’Automne”, Thorigny-Sur-Marne, France (1994); “Exposition Inaugurale”, Galerie du Chêne – Donald Vallotton, Lausanne (1992); “Collecting 20th-Century Art”, The British Museum, London (1991); “Painting and Sculpture at the End of the 20th Century”, European Cultural Centre of Delphi, Greece (1998); “Selected Artists”, Kufa Gallery, London (1987); and “Paysages”, Galerie Faris, Paris (1985).

Maliheh Afnan’s work is in several public collections, including The Metropolitan Museum, New York; The British Museum, London; and the Institut du Monde Arabe, Akkram Ojjeh Foundation and BAII Bank Collection, all in Paris. She has also featured in several publications, most recently Familiar Faces (2013, Rose Issa Projects) and Maliheh Afnan: Traces, Faces, Places (2010, Al Saqi Books & Beyond Art Productions).

Please click here to view an Interview by Arte TV with Maliheh Afnan at the opening of the ‘Taswir: Pictorial Mappings of Islam and Modernity’ at the Martin Gropius Bau Museum, Berlin, 5th November 2009.


maliheh afnan (2010)

paysages, personnages, ecritures (1993)

maliheh afnan:
traces, faces, places


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