Ramzi Ghotbaldin’s journey through life, so far, has been an eventful one.
Born in 1955 in Khanaqin, between Iranian Kurdistan and Iraqi Kurdistan, into a family of photographers, Ramzi would spend much time, from an early age, helping in the family studio. These years spent in this creative environment and fascinated by the world of images, drew him naturally towards a career in art. He started by attending the School of Fine Arts in Baghdad, from which he graduated in 1975, with a diploma in graphic design and engraving. Ramzi then returned to Kurdistan where as well as teaching he started to exhibit his work. In 1982 he joined the Kurdish resistance working with them, recording what he saw, exhibiting in neighboring villages. After the gassing of Iraqi Kurdistan in 1988 he left with other survivors, crossing the border to live in Iranian Kurdistan where he had his first exhibitions. He was invited to Paris in 1990 to show his paintings in an exhibition of Kurdish artists. He stayed, obtaining political asylum and French nationality a few years later.
This double belonging determined Ramzi Ghotbaldin’s uniqueness, the depth and richness of his memory informing and nourishing much of his early work in Paris. Now 65 and having lived in France for 30 years, his maturity as an artist and his background, so deeply inscribed in him, inform how he observes and presents the natural environment.
Hovering on the periphery of memory and imagination, Ramzi seeks to express the essence and atmosphere of a place. This new body of landscape painting, a subject he began a decade ago, presents us with an abundance of colour and expressive, lively graphics. Images of his recent travels in Normandy, Thiviers in the Dordogne and Spain and then of course Paris. Fields, hills and dazzling forests are laid out in successive horizons, while the cliffs, pines, creeks and valleys of the Mediterranean appear in these rich, masterly paintings.
We are delighted to show Ramzi Ghotbaldin’s beautiful paintings in his first solo exhibition at Campden Gallery.
Guy Cohen, June 2020