[Sa‛īd, Shākir Ḥasan al-]
(b Samawa, 1925; d 2004).
Iraqi painter and writer. Said graduated in 1954 from the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad, where he was taught by Jawad Salim. In 1955 he was sent on a government scholarship to Paris, where he attended the Académie Julian, the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs and also trained as a special student under Raymond Legueult (1898–1978). In 1959 he returned to Baghdad and was inspired by Arab painting of the 13th century, notably the work of al-Wasiti (see Islamic art, §III, 4(iv)(c)); he also read the works of the mystic philosopher al-Hallaj (dad 922) and was drawn to Sufism. He gave up figural depiction in his paintings and turned to Arabic calligraphy, the spiritual and physical qualities of the letters becoming the central subject of his compositions. In 1971 he formed the ‘One-dimension’ group in Baghdad, which promoted the modern calligraphic school in Arab art, and in the same year the group held its only exhibition. His preoccupation with the spiritual element in art continued in his later work (e.g. ...