Born in Baghdad, Iraq, 1981
Lives and works in San Francisco, California
Hayv Kahraman was born in Baghdad. In 1991 her family fled first to Suleymanea in Northern Iraq and then to Sweden via Ethiopia, Germany and Yemen. Kahraman grew up in Sweden and went on to study in Florence, Italy before moving to the United States. Kahraman is constantly maneuvering her identity as a Middle Eastern woman. She has asked, “Is my artistic expression defined by my place of birth? The necessity to categorize stems from a need to identify that which is not part of the collective. Its ‘us’ and the ‘other,’ which automatically places me in the latter category.” She balances her status as refugee with her state of being an immigrant. She constantly negotiates being Arab while living in the West. What does it mean to belong to a diaspora? And can one woman’s experience in the Iraqi diaspora speak to others?