Iraqi palm

Biography of an Iraqi creator

Haqqi Al-Shibli


Haqqi Al-Shibli


The pioneer of Iraqi theater, the great artist Haqqi Al-Shibli, was born in Baghdad in 1913. He had his first acting role in 1926 in the Egyptian George Abyad group. He was the founder of the first Iraqi theater group in 1927 that was called "the National Dramatic Ensemble". In 1931 he established a group held his name and founded the Theater Division in Fine Arts Institute that was only a musical institute founded by the musician "Mohi Al-Deen Sharief". Later, Haqqi Al-Shibli became the head of Theater Division, then professor and later he was assigned to be  the Dean of Fine Arts Institute    

He also established Somer Cinema Company Ltd. and he was also appointed as the first general director of the Cinema and Theater Establishment. Then he became the chairman of Artist Syndicate that included about 3000 male and female artists at that time.
Through his artistic career, he has won many Iraqi and Arab artistic awards; perhaps, one of the most prominent awards was the honor he got in Tunisia in 1983 as an Arab pioneer of theatrical art.

In Kuwait, he was honored in 1984 by a Kuwaiti theater group   nominating him as the Chairman of Gulf countries artists.

Al-Shibli was the first Iraqi artist who went to Egypt as part of a government delegation to learn about the artistic movement in Egypt and to be inspired by their experience to enrich the artistic movement in Iraq. So he was deputed for a whole year to Egypt, where he discovered the origins and principles of art in Egypt, which was flourishing at the time. He was supported by the Egyptian artist Fatima Rushdi who seized the advantage of King Faisal I presence in a party which she was presenting one of her plays and requested the King to help Al-Shibli's to go with them to Egypt to see the theatrical progress there. 
It was known that there was kind of inclination between Shibli and Fatima. 

He was also deputed to France in the mid-thirties of last century to study Theater's Art of for four years. On his return to Iraq, he submitted a request to Minister of Education to establish a theater department at the Institute of Arts. By such initiative he   had changed the Institute of Music into an institute for all arts. That gesture inspired several artists to establish other departments of art in the Institute of Arts, such as Jawad Saleem who founded the Department of Sculpturing, and Faeq Hassan and established the Department of Painting.

The great artist Haqqi al-Shibli passed away in Baghdad in 1985