Zaha Hadid: Early Paintings and Drawings

Dubbed the ‘queen of curve’, Iraqi-born Zaha Hadid is best known for her innovative architecture and design. Using concrete, steel and glass, Hadid has created many expressive and sweepingly fluid constructions that have now redefined the architectural profession. Hadid’s experience is reflected through the evolution of her buildings; the research and investigating that she undertook before she created each design demonstrates her dedication to her work.

In 2013, Zaha Hadid turned her attention to the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, renovating and extending the classic 19th century brick structure to create a modern twist. Juxtaposing the old and the new, Hadid attached a tensile structure to the original building creating the Sackler Gallery as we know it today. It is here that we are now celebrating Hadid herself and the work she created. However, it is not her architectural work, but her art pieces that are on display this winter.

The ‘Zaha Hadid: Early Paintings and Drawings’ exhibition exposes Hadid as a passionate and committed artist. Focusing on her early work, this collection presents her paintings and drawings from the 1970s through to the early 1990s, before the erection of her first building in 1993. With drawings at the heart of her work, she used calligraphic drawings as her main method of expression, moving her architectural designs from mind to paper. 

Hadid took inspiration from the early Russian avant-garde movement, with particular attention to Kasimir Malevich. As an artist, Malevich discovered abstraction as an experimental principle, constructing a level of creativity that appealed to Zaha Hadid. 

With over fifteen of Zaha Hadid’s paintings and drawings on display in the Sackler Gallery between the 8th of December and the 12th of Feb, we, at Ennigaldi, have collated together are three favourite pieces from the collection:

Residence for the Irish Prime Minister

As a painting, it reflects the the crisp and structured designs of a building. The defining white stroke that cuts through the middle of the piece instantly captures your eye and draws you in for further inspection. It is when you look closer, that you discover the intricacy in this piece of art. Using block colours and carefully constructed paint strokes, Hadid creates a sturdy scene that tells a story. Hadid builds texture with her curved lines and fragmented geometry.

Residence for the Irish Prime Minister by Zaha Hadid

Residence for the Irish Prime Minister by Zaha Hadid


The Peak

The icy tones used in this painting appropriately reflect the cold and rocky surroundings that this scene depicts. With the help of shading, Hadid uses shapes and flecks of bright colours to build a picture of the city of Hong Kong, creating sharp, abstract buildings that stand out in the foreground. In contrast, the soft hue of the sky reflects a more realistic style, which only reinforces the chaotic scene that Hadid is portraying.

The Peak by Zaha Hadid

The Peak by Zaha Hadid



As one of Zaha Hadid’s most abstract pieces, this certainly stands out from the rest of the collection. As you walk into the Sackler Gallery it is the first thing that you see, oozing passion and colour. An explosion of vibrant reds and oranges, Hadid again uses fragmented geometry to create an eye-catching piece of artwork. 

Running for over two months, this exhibition celebrates Zaha Hadid as both an architect and an artist.

Metropolis by Zaha Hadid

Metropolis by Zaha Hadid

The exhibition is on at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, which is open from 10am - 6pm Tuesday to Sunday.  More information may be found here.