Google doodles celebrate Iraq’s contemporary painter Naziha Salim, National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, England’s old tale of St. George

NEW DELHI: Google on Saturday showcased three doodles – one dedicated to Naziha Salim, a painter, professor and one of the most influential artists in Iraq’s contemporary art scene, another celebrates National Sovereignty and Children’s Day and the third is based on England’s old tale of the legend of St. George.
Painter-professor Naziha Salim
Naziha Salim’s work often depicts rural Iraqi women and peasant life through bold brush strokes and vivid colors. On this day in 2020, Naziha Salim was spotlighted by the Barjeel Art Foundation in their collection of female artists.
To paint the scene, Salim was born into a family of Iraqi artists in Turkey. Her father was a painter and her mother was a skilled embroidery artist. All three of her brothers worked in the arts, including Jawad, who’s widely considered one of Iraq’s most influential sculptors. From an early age she enjoyed making her own art.
Salim enrolled at the Baghdad Fine Arts Institute where she studied painting and graduated with distinction. Because of her hard work and passion for art she was one of the first women awarded a scholarship to continue her education in Paris at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. While in Paris, Salim specialized in fresco and mural painting. After graduation, she spent several more years abroad, immersing herself in art and culture.
Salim eventually returned to Baghdad to work at the Fine Arts Institute where she would teach until retirement. She was active in Iraq’s arts community and one of the founding members of Al-Ruwwad, a community of artists that study abroad and incorporate European art techniques into the Iraqi aesthetic. Later in her career, Salim authored Iraq: Contemporary Art, an important resource for the early development of Iraq’s modern art movement.
Naziha Salim’s artwork hangs at the Sharjah Art Museum and the Modern Art Iraqi Archive. There you can see the magic she created from dripping brushes and brimmed canvases. Today’s Doodle artwork is an ode to Salim’s painting style and a celebration of her long standing contributions to the art world!
National Sovereignty and Children’s Day
National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, is a holiday that honors children in Turkey and from all over the world, and uplifts the next generation of leaders.
In 1920, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey met for the first time and built the framework for the Republic of Turkey. In addition to celebrating Turkish independence, on April 23, 1929, upon Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s proposal, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey decreed April 23 as a national holiday dedicated to children. With this, Turkey became the first country in the world to celebrate an official Children’s Day, as a gift to the children in Turkey and around the world.
Every year on April 23, children from dozens of countries are invited to Turkey to celebrate their cultural differences in stadium-sized ceremonies. Kids are invited to share poems, songs, folk dances and scientific collaborations with one another. Turkish flags and red balloons, like the one featured in today’s Doodle, are common decorations found on this national holiday.
Children are also invited to take seats in parliament or other government offices to symbolically lead the country for a day, further emphasizing the importance of the next generation of peaceful leaders.
England’s old tale of St. George
Today’s Doodle celebrates England’s old tale of the legend of St. George. Shrouded in mystery, legend has it that St. George slew a fire-breathing dragon to save the townspeople of Silene from demise.
Although the real St. George was born in present-day Turkey, and likely never set foot in England, 11th-century crusaders popularized St. George upon returning to England—sharing the story of a galiant hero who single-handedly rescued not only a princess but an entire city under siege!
Annual modern-day St. George’s Day celebrations vary, from reenactments of heroic knight slaying, to pinning a single red rose to one’s lapel. Why the red rose? Legend has it that rose bushes grew throughout Silene after St. George vanquished the dragon.