Evan Hikmat is an Iraqi freelance illustrator, journalist, and activist focusing on women’s and children’s rights. Hikmat holds a diploma from the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad (2004) and a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Baghdad (2007). Her work has been exhibited in many international exhibitions, including the Iraq International Book Fair, the Muscat International Book Fair, the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival, the Istanbul Arab Book Fair, amongst others.
Hikmat is one of the most prolific Iraqi artists and is very well-known for her illustrations of a multitude of children’s books, stories, nursery rhymes and poems published in Iraqi and Arabic children’s publications. Evan’s art can be seen on the covers of children’s books such as Once upon a Time, a Little Boy (Istanbul, 2021), What Makes Rhinoceros Jojo Happy? (Baghdad, 2020), The Adventures of the Balloon Bobo (Baghdad / Beirut, 2018), ‘Who Does Hadi Play With? (Muscat, 2016), and more. Through her work and art-activism, Evan Hikmat has addressed issues of child poverty, violence against women, and underage marriage whilst encouraging children to express themselves through art. You can read more about Hikmat’s initiatives in an article by The Arab Weekly.
Evan Hikmat has also contributed dozens of paintings and illustrations as part of the United Nations’ Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) campaign, which you can see here. She has also participated in numerous workshops, including ‘Come to Write in Baghdad’, teaching children creative expression. In a 2018 personal initiative, Hikmat bought a large number of childrens’ magazines and distributed them to children working in the streets to encourage them to read and paint.
As a journalist, Evan has published several investigative reports covering the conditions of the weakest and most marginalised groups in post-Saddam Iraq. She has extensively written about the fate of disabled veterans, the sexual exploitation of women, electoral corruption, and the impact of war on the educational system in Iraq. In 2013, Hikmar participated in a UNESCO workshop entitled ‘Exploring Culture via Journalism’ where she received a certificate of appreciation with distinction.
In 2018, following years of threats, smear campaigns, and harassment Evan Hikmat and her family were forced to flee to Turkey. In March 2022, Hikmat was welcomed as the ICORN resident in Haugesund, Norway.
To keep up to date with Evan Hikmat’s work, you can follow her on Instagram, Facebook, or Behance.