Hiwa K graduated from High School in Iraq and continued his self-education meeting different intellectuals, visual artists, musicians and theatre artists. The major fields of these informal and non-systematic studies were European literature and philosophy, learnt from available books translated into Arabic. After moving to Germany at the age of 25, he studied music; specifically he was a pupil of the Flamenco master Paco Peña.

Hiwa K’s works, escape normative aesthetics but give a possibility of another vibration to vernacular forms, oral histories (Chicago boys, 2011), modes of encounter (Cooking with Mama, 2006) and political situations (This lemon tastes of apple, 2011). The repository of his references consists of stories told by family members and friends, found situations as well as everyday forms that are the products of pragmatics and necessity.

His own education leaves a strong impression within his works, which are the result of a continuous critique of the art education system and the professionalization of art practice, as well as the myth of the individual artist.

Consequently, many of his works are characterized by a strong collective and participatory dimension, and have to do with the process of the teaching and learning systems and an insistence on the concept of obtaining knowledge from everyday experience rather than doctrine

Hiwa K was involved in various collective exhibitions such as La Triennale in Paris and the “Edgware Road Project” at the Serpentine Gallery in London. His Chicago Boys While We Were Singing They Were Dreaming project is continuously hosted by important international institutions, such as Alternativa Festival in Gdansk,the CASCO in Utrecht, the Serpentine Gallery in London, New Museum/ NYC, MACRO/Rome, MuHKA and MUSAC in León. , he participated in the VII edition of Manifesta curated by Raqs Media Collective, New Museum in NY and Venice Biennale 2015.

Hiwa K. Photo by Ala d'Amico.
Hiwa K
Sulaimaniya, 1975

Past Exhibitions

Homeless Souls

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark 27/06/2019 — 22/09/2019

The Restless Earth

Triennale di Milano
28/04/2017 — 20/08/2017

Hiwa K

29/04/2016 — 03/05/2016

Solo Shows


My Father’s Color Periods , Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani, Milan, Italy


For A Few Socks of Marbles, Laboratorios 987 at MUSAC, León / Spain curated by Leire Vergara


As If It Was Here Long Before, Kunstbuero Vienna, curated by Aneta Szylak


Chicago Boys While We Were Singing They Were Dreaming, Serpentine Gallery, London, curated by Janna



Qatees, Prometeos Gallery, Milan, curated by Denis Isaia


Cooking With Mama, Babel Lounge, Pargamon Museum, Berlin


Cooking With Mama, United Nations Plaza, Berlin

Group Shows


All the world’s futures, 56. Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte, Venice, curated by Okwui Enwezor

Too early too late. Middle Est and modernity, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna, curated by Marco Scotini


Parle Pour Toi, Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris curated by Marie Muracciole

Here & Elsewhere, New Museum, NY


Flatness, Oberhausen Film Festival, curated by Shama Khanna

Possession, Khiasma, curated by Olivier marboeuf

RENDEZ- VOUS SORTIE DE MON CORPS, Savvy Contemporary, Berlin

This Lemon Tastes of Apple, Relevant Music, Villa Elisabeth, Berlin

This Field is to the Sky, Only Backwards, ISCP Gallery, curated by Aneta Szylak

This Lemon Tastes of Apple, Impakt festival, Utrecht

To The Reader, BAK, curated by Benjamin Fallon

Schizophnia, Synagogue de Delme, curated by Anna Colin & Sam Thorne

Video Screening, La Gallerie, Paris, curated by Emily Renard


Studio Shows, MACRO, Rome, italy

On The Edgware Road,Serpentine Gallery, London

Materiality, Alternativa 2012, curated by Arne Hendriks, Ines Moreira, Aneta Szyłak and Leire Vergara

Intense Proximity, a La Triennale Paris, curated by Okwui Enwezor

Hayward Touring Exhibition, Hayward Gallery London 2011, curated by Karyn Culeman-Mojika


Chicago Boys While We Were Singing They Were Dreaming. Collaboration with Casco and If I Can Dance…Studio Dispatches at Art Dubai, United Arab Emirates curated by Victoria Brooks

Estrangement, Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdansk, in the framework of Alternativa 2010-2012, co-curated with Aneta Szylak

Labor and Leisure, curated by Aneta Szylak, in the framework of Alternativa 2010-2012


Estrangement Project, The Showroom, London, co-curated with Aneta Szylak

Chicago Boys, When We Were Singing While They Were Dreaming, Center for Possible Studies, Serpentine

Gallery, London

Open Eye Award Gala, KOW Gallery, Berlin 2010

Chicago Boys, When We Were Singing They Were Dreaming, Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdansk, in the framework of Alternativa 2010-2012

Dwelling In Travel, Art Today Association, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, curated by Andrea Wiarda and Katia Anguelova

This Story Is Not Ready For Its Footnotes, X Elettrofonica, Rome, Italy curated by Pelin Uran and Camilla Pignatti Morano


All that is Solid Melts into Air, City Visions, Mechelen, Organized by MuHKA, Belgium, curated by Bart de Baere

The View from Elsewhere, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, curated by Catherine Weir and Mark Nash

The Inescapable Experience of Translation, curated by Season 5 Ecole du Magazin, Grenoble, France

7th Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brazil


Manifesta 7 The Rest of Now, X- Alumix in Bolzano, Italy, curated by Raqs Media Collective

Cooking with Mama, at the Babel lounge at the Babylon exhibition, Pargamonmuseum Berlin

Cooking with Mama, Summer Drafts, Bolzano, curated by Paolo Plothegers

Cooking with Mama, webcast project, Staedelschule, Frankfurt, Germany and 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica, California, USA


Cooking with Mama, webcast project for Intimacy, Submission, Performance Festival, Goldsmiths College, University of London, Digital Department.

Cooking with Mama, webcast event for World Chat 7080 at Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdansk Cooking with Mama, United Nations Plaza, Berlin, Germany

You won’t feel a Thing: On Panic, Obsession, Rituality and Anesthesia, curated by Aneta Szylak, Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdansk, Poland


Participation in The Institute for New Social Research, a project organized by the United Nations Plaza e.V., Berlin, Germany

You won’t feel a Thing: On Panic, Obsession, Rituality and Anesthesia, Kunsthaus Dresden, Germany, curated by Aneta Szylak selected for (the never realized) Manifesta 6 Exhibition as a School in Cyprus.

Contacts & Details

City of birth: Sulaimaniya Country of birth: Iraq Date of birth: 1975 Lives in: Berlin