Shakir Hassan Al Said graduated with a degree in social science from the Higher Institute of Teachers, Baghdad, in 1948, and later received a diploma in painting from the Institute of Fine Arts, Baghdad, in 1954. At the Institute he was taught by Jewad Selim and co-founded the Baghdad Modern Art Group with him in 1951. From 1955 to 1959, after receiving a scholarship, Al Said travelled to Paris where he studied at the Académie Julien, École des Arts Décoratifs, and the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. When he returned to Baghdad, he taught art history at the Institute of Fine Arts, from 1970 to 1980, and was the chair of the Department of Aesthetic Studies at the Ministry of Culture and Information from 1980 to 1983. He formed the One Dimension group in 1971, a collective that was primarily concerned with the exploration of the Arabic letter.