As an Iraqi American artist and woman, politics and decisions of corrupt leaders has affected my life and is the reason why I had to leave my home country Iraq at an early age. After having lived in the USA and Europe, I now live in Lebanon. Politics is daily affecting my life and my paintings are a response to the violence and unrest around me. Although many of my paintings represent women, the injustice around me in this part of the world is so huge, that whatever I depict it is not enough. The complexities of the oppressions around me are endless, be it about the oppression of women, the corruption of the leaders, the inequality and oppression of the poor and weak, the lack of freedom, not only politically but socially… The list is endless. Since I am a painter, not a politician, I don’t paint one emotion or one biased view point, but develop my thoughts and observations, so that my message shows on several levels, at the same time, the challenge is to make it work artistically.

Leila Kubba

Leila Kubba Art أعمال ليلى كبة

Paintings 2011 لوحات

New Studio Works

 My last exhibition of works was based on my responses to living in Beirut, after relocating from the United States. I was fascinated by the vitality of life around me, and painted some of the vibrant scenes that I saw, trying to capture the colours and energy around me. Now that I have grown more accustomed to my surroundings, my recent works are more explorative, as they draw from the reality of the present into the realm of dreams and imaginary distances.

I have tried to explore the collective spirit of the present and the past, with layers of symbols, signs and calligraphic expressions. The explosive changes around me have influenced my work and allowed me to draw from that access.

These new works are about contrasts, in paint and in thought; the contradictions between our own restrictive thoughts and the wings of our imaginations. They are also explorations in paint glazes, colours and textures that form questions that I have not found the answer to.

In the painting “the Cloak”, the figure is shrouded with a protective cover, at the same time it separates her from the heavens above, which leads me to question  the symbol of this veil; is it a protection or is it a barrier.

This continuing conflict between freedom and boundaries has become one of the main components of my paintings.

In “A Hundred Thoughts”, “Three Moons” and “Thoughts”, the decorative print on the gowns evolves into figurative forms, a sea of faces and signs. The layers of colours, scriptures and symbols allude to a vibrant present and the impression of hidden pasts; it is about the metamorphosis of the source into a new expression.

In the paintings “Golden Triangles” “In the Shadows”, “The Moon is near” “The Road to Heaven” there is a connection between the larger feminine protective being and the masses of people who become a part of the whole. This protective spirit is embodied in the great powerful Sumerian Goddess Inanna, Goddess of Heaven and Earth, a symbol of eternal feminism.  Through her mythology I feel a connection with the history of Mesopotamia, the land I was born in.

Leila Kubba Kawash

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Beirut series سلسلة أعمال بيروت

“Beirut series” are a group of small abstractions, strokes of paint, scraps of paper collage; that attempt to defy their size and give the effect of going beyond their boundaries.

Arches, scriptures and symbols allude to a vibrant present and the impression of a hidden past. {Autumn veil, Night scriptures, Into the distance and Old man.}

The street scenes such as the vendors, the Tawli players and the fishermen are a response to the visual scenes surrounding me.

Colors, textures, gauze and net combine to enrich the paintings and to place a separation between the viewer and the actual painting, maybe even to add a mystery that we can never unravel. These thoughts enter my mind while I am in the process of painting, and through the act of laying down the paints my thoughts get placed into an order and clarify.

Such as “Awakening” “Country side” ; which depart from reality into the realm of dreams or imaginary distances.

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Paintings 2010 لوحات


Living in Beirut has brought a new reality to my work. This complex and vibrant city intrigues and demands of me a response. The contradictions are everywhere, between the new and the old, the humble and the extravagant. Every extremity of life is alive in Beirut, from the creative to the destructive.

A short walk in one of the streets of Beirut offers an endless source of inspiration to draw from, challenging me to explore new ways of expressing this visual wealth.

I have tried to convey these vibrations through layers of color glazes, differing textures and collage to reflect the complexities of these transient visions.

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Paintings 2008 لوحات

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Kaleidoscope Mosaics موزاييك

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