Thursday, January 7, 2021

01 Painting, Middle East Artists, with Footnotes, #39

Alaa Ismail, (Baghdad - born in 1974)
Untitled, c. 2011
Mixed technique on paper
76 x 56 cm

Iraqi born Alaa Ismail (1974) started practicing the art of calligraphy from a young age. He studied various artistic disciplines at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Baghdad, including decorative arts, Islamic architecture, glass painting and Islamic Art, graduating in 2003. Currently living in Damascus, Syria, Ismail has taught and lead many projects looking into the use of calligraphy within Arab art, as well as promoting the importance of classical Arab music. His paintings seek to use calligraphy in an expressive and gestural manner, displaying words of meaning and poetic significance. This marrying of bold textural strokes combined with Ismail’s love of the Arabic word, successfully presents calligraphy in a colorful layered contemporary style.

Ismail has participated in the 4th Sharjah Calligraphy Biennale in 2010, shown as part of Iraqi Cultural Week in New York in 2009, and exhibited in numerous exhibitions in Iraq, Syria and Jordan. In 2010 he won first prize at the Al Burda Awards for modern calligraphy, an award presented by the Abu Dhabi Ministry of Culture. More on Alaa Ismail




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Sunday, October 11, 2020

01 Painting, Middle East Artists, with Footnotes, #38

Nabil Anani
Qur'anic Pages, c. 2007
Mixed media on paper
70 X 43 CM
Private collection

Nabil Anani (b.1943, Latroun, Palestine) is one of the most prominent Palestinian artists working today. He is considered by many as a key founder of the contemporary Palestinian art movement.

On graduating in Fine Art from Alexandra University, Egypt [in 1969], Anani returned to his native Palestine and began a fruitful career as an artist and a teacher trainer at the UN training college in Ramallah. Anani held his first exhibition in Jerusalem in 1972 and has since exhibited widely in Europe, North America, the Middle East, North Africa and Japan – both as an individual artist and with groups of his Palestinian contemporaries.

Anani is a multi-talented artist, for he is a painter, a ceramicist and a sculptor. He pioneered the use of local media such as leather, henna, natural dyes, Papier-mâché, wood, beads and copper. Over the past four decades, Anani has built an impressive catalogue of outstanding, innovative and unique art.

Anani was awarded the first Palestinian National Prize for Visual Art in 1997 and became the head of the League of Palestinian Artists in 1998. On retiring from his teaching post in 2003, Anani has dedicated much of his time to voluntary pastimes, leading on the League’s activities and playing a key role in the establishment of the first International Academy of Fine Art in Palestine – with the assistance of the University of Oslo and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. More on Nabil Anani




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Thursday, September 10, 2020

01 Painting, Middle East Artists, with Footnotes, #37

YOUSSEF NABIL | EHSAN CRYING, CAIRO, 1997
Youssef Nabil, b. 1972, Egyptian
EHSAN CRYING, CAIRO, c. 1997
Hand-coloured gelatin silver print
40 by 27 cm.; 15¾ by 10⅝ in.
Private collection


Youssef Nabil (born 6 November 1972) is an Egyptian artist and photographer. Nabil started his photography career in 1992. In 1997, Nabil worked in Paris with the Peruvian fashion photographer Mario Testino till late 1998. In 1999, Youssef Nabil had his first solo exhibition in Cairo. 

Nabil left Egypt in 2003 for an artist residency at the Cité internationale des arts in Paris. In 2006, he moved to live and work in New York.

Nabil's work has been presented on numerous international solo and group exhibitions, at venues including the British Museum, London; Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle; Centre de Cultura Contemporánea de Barcelona; Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah; Kunstmuseum, Bonn; The Third Line, Dubai;[3] The Townhouse gallery, Cairo; Galerist, Istanbul; Marco Noire gallery, Turin; Nathalie Obadia gallery, Paris; Yossi Milo gallery, New York; Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Sevilla; Aperture Foundation, New York and Villa Medici, Rome. More on Youssef Nabil







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Friday, August 21, 2020

01 Photograph, Middle East Artists, with Footnotes, #36

YOUSSEF NABIL | MY BED, FIFI ABDOU, CAIRO, 2000
Youssef Nabil, b. 1972, Egyptian
MY BED, FIFI ABDOU, CAIRO, 2000
Hand-coloured gelatin silver print
26 by 40 cm.; 10¼ by 15¾ in.
Private collection

Fifi Abdou, born Atiyat Abdul Fattah Ibrahim, April 26, 1953, is an Egyptian belly dancer and actress. She has been described as "synonymous with belly dancing in the years she was performing." In her acting career, she is known as the woman-empowering type where, rarely in Egyptian culture and film, she beats up and overpowers men. Now she is considered an icon on social media, where she is one of the most active and most followed celebrities in the Arab world. Through her posts including regular belly dancing videos, she is known to be very cheerful and empowering with no constraints. 

Her father is a policeman and she has 11 siblings, including her brother Abdelraheem Abdul Fattah Ibrahim, who encouraged her career. When she was 12 years old she joined a baladi troupe and later found work as a model. She began to gain attention in the early 1970s when she became the main attraction at the Arizona. Over the years she danced at many other venues such as Le Meridien, Mena House and the El Gezira Sheraton. Her performances usually lasted around two hours and she received up to $10,000 per performance. In addition to dancing, her routines often included circus tricks and even rapping. The Moroccan newspaper La Vie Eco reported in 2004 shortly before her retirement that she possessed 5,000 costumes with the most expensive being valued at $40,000. More on Fifi Abdou

Youssef Nabil (born 6 November 1972) is an Egyptian artist and photographer. Nabil started his photography career in 1992. In 1997, Nabil worked in Paris with the Peruvian fashion photographer Mario Testino till late 1998. In 1999, Youssef Nabil had his first solo exhibition in Cairo. 

Nabil left Egypt in 2003 for an artist residency at the Cité internationale des arts in Paris. In 2006, he moved to live and work in New York.

Nabil's work has been presented on numerous international solo and group exhibitions, at venues including the British Museum, London; Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle; Centre de Cultura Contemporánea de Barcelona; Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah; Kunstmuseum, Bonn; The Third Line, Dubai;[3] The Townhouse gallery, Cairo; Galerist, Istanbul; Marco Noire gallery, Turin; Nathalie Obadia gallery, Paris; Yossi Milo gallery, New York; Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Sevilla; Aperture Foundation, New York and Villa Medici, Rome. More on Youssef Nabil






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Sunday, August 9, 2020

01 Painting, Middle East Artists, with Footnotes, #35

SEIF WANLY | ALEXANDRIA BEACH
Seif Waly, 1906-1979, Egyptian
ALEXANDRIA BEACH, c. 1959
Oil on celotex
42.5 by 70.5 cm.; 16¾ by 27¾ in.
Private collection

Seif Waly (March 31, 1906 – February 15, 1979) was an Egyptian painter, born Mohammed Seif al-Din Waly into an aristocratic family, of Turkish origin, in Alexandria, Egypt. He was introduced to modern art after studying at the studio of the Italian artist Otorino Becchi. In 1942 he set up his own studio with his brother Adham Wanly (below) and together they participated in more than 17 exhibitions, notably in the Biennale of Venice and in São Paulo, Brazil. Today an entire floor of the Mahmoud Said Museum in Alexandria is dedicated to Seif and Adham Wanly.

His work is collected by several Museums, including Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Darat AL Funoon in Amman.


He died in 1979 at Stockholm at age of 72. More on Seif Waly





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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

01 Painting, Middle East Artists, with Footnotes, #34

Nuri İyem, 1915-2005, Turkish
UNTITLED, c. 1970s
Oil on canvas,
80 by 120 cm.; 31½ by 47¼ in.
Private collection

Nuri İyem, (1915 - d. 18 June 2005 ) was a leading figure in the Turkish painting and social-realistic art movement.

Nuri İyem was born in Istanbul in 1915. During his childhood he used to paint walls with charcoal. Because of his father's job as a health official, İyem spent his childhood in various cities of Anatolia. After finishing primary school in Mardin, he returned back to Istanbul to attend secondary school and he studied at Vefa and Pertevniyal Highschools. 

His passion to be a painter was forcing his dreams through the coasts of Fındıklı where the Fine Arts Academy stood. . Those dreams would be concluded with his enrollment at the Academy in spite of his parents' desire to see their child as a doctor.

Nuri İyem was one of the most important living masters of Turkish painting. He has produced, exhibited, written and discussed art without a break, in spite of all the difficulties to exist as an artist during the social and cultural course of the Republic period. Nuri has crowned his life with many precious art works and his own story is not just an autobiographical representation of an artist, but also an expression of real struggle and honour. More on Nuri İyem






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Friday, July 17, 2020

01 Painting, Middle East Artists, with Footnotes, #33

Sliman Mansour, b. 1947, Palestinian
ON THE EDGE, c. 1985
Oil on canvas
80 by 70.5 cm.; 31½ by 27¾ in.
Private collection

Sliman Mansour is a Palestinian painter, considered an important figure among contemporary Palestinian artists. Mansour is considered an artist of the intifada whose work gave visual expression to the cultural concept of sumud. Palestinian artist and scholar Samia Halaby has identified Mansour as part of the Liberation Art Movement and cites his important work as an artist and cultural practitioner before and after the Intifada. This collective turned to earthworks and mixed media and assemblage using materials derived from the Palestinian environment in order to boycott Israeli art supplies in protest of the ongoing occupation. In 1988 he made a series of four paintings on destroyed Palestinian villages, the four villages being Yibna, Yalo, Imwas and Bayt Dajan. More on Sliman Mansour






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