Album: Faisal Samra (Saudi, b.1955)Born in Bahrain, Saudi Nationality. 1980 Graduated from “Ecole National Superieure des Beaux Arts– Paris, France (With honor degree). 1980-81 Works as Stage designer at the Saudi TV. 1982-83 Works as Senior Graphics Designer at Arabian Bechtel Co., Jubail, Saudi Arabia. 1987 Moved to Paris and works as Fine Arts & Graphics Consultant at Institut Du Monde Arabe .1988 first visit to New York. 1993-94 Personal Research on Islamic Design & Artisan works in Fes, Marrakech, and Rabat, Morocco. 2002-03 lived & worked in Beirut. 2003 – 04 Courses & workshops in Drawing & Painting at College of fine Arts – Amman , Jordan and at Faisal Samra Studio, Bahrain. 2005 Artist in Residence-Cite International Des Arts, Paris, France. Jury member – Alexandria Biennale – Egypt.
Since 1993 lives and works as Independent Artist, base studio in Bahrain.From: Averroes
Album: Mohammad El Rawas (Lebanese, b. 1951)Mohammad Rawas, painter and printmaker, was born on the 26th of May 1951 in Beirut, Lebanon.
In 1971 he joined the Institute of Fine Arts at the Lebanese University in Beirut, Lebanon, and graduated with a BA in painting in 1975. At this time the civil war in Lebanon broke out, and el Rawas fled the country.
The war had a drastic effect on el Rawas and he stopped painting for two years.
In 1977 he traveled to Morocco, where he worked as an art instructor at the Ecole Normale des Institutrices, Rabat, until 1979. It was at this time that he started painting again.
In 1979 he returned to Beirut, and held his first individual exhibit. Benefitting from a scholarship from The Lebanese University, he enrolled at The Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, United Kingdom, and graduated with an MA degree in printmaking in 1981.
In 1981 he returned to Lebanon and started teaching in 1982 at the Lebanese University, Institute of Fine Arts in Beirut, a post he held till his resignation in March 2009.
From 1983 until 1992 Mohammad Rawas served as Secretary General of the Association of Lebanese Artists and was a founding member of the Syndicate of Lebanese Artists in 2004.
From 1992 until 2004 he taught at the American University of Beirut, Department of Architecture and Design, and founded the etching, engraving and silkscreen studios.
Mohammad el Rawas is currently living and working in Beirut.From: Averroes
Album: Adam Henein (Egyptian, b.1929)Adam Henein was born into a family of metalworkers in Cairo in 1929. He was trained as a sculptor at the Academy of Fine Art in Cairo, from which he received his degree in 1953.
Henein became known as a sculptor in the 1950s; he received Luxor Prize in 1954-56, and his work was shown in Cairo, Alexandria, and Munich by the end of that decade. When he moved to Paris in 1971, Henein began to explore painting. In both his paintings and his sculptures, he has gained recognition for the use of ancient Egyptian themes and traditional materials.
From 1989 to 1998 Henein headed the design team involved in the restoration of the Great Sphinx at Giza, drawing on his experience as a sculptor to determine how the monument was originally carved. In 1998 he was decorated for his service by the Egyptian government. He is the founder and director of the annual international sculpture symposium in Aswan, and the position, for which he is known internationally, has been a major activity of the past four years. Henein has had one-person exhibitions in Alexandria, Amsterdam, Cairo London, Nantes, Paris, and Rome .He has participated in-group exhibitions in Cairo, Munich, Calais Casablanca, Dakar, Ljubljana, Naples, Sorrento, and Spoleto.
His commissioned works are in public buildings in Egypt, Italy and Saudi Arabia.From: Averroes
Album: Mahjoub Ben Bella (Algerian, b.1946)Mahjoub Ben Bella was born in 1946 in Maghnia (Algeria)
After studying at the Beaux-Arts of Oran, he settled in France in order to pursue his studies. First at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Tourcoing, then at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs in Paris and finally to the National School of Fine Arts in Paris.
He participates in the workshop of the Mint between 1969 and 1976.
From 1978 to 1980 he taught at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Cambrai.
Ben Bella is the pulse of Northern France. His role in the city is important, it is the great organizer and the magician of the visual field of the region. Indeed, this decorator space painted 12 km of cobblestones, Tanning and "Hell of the Paris-Roubaix." He also dressed his brushes 400 m2 of facades in the heart of the city of Lille.
No public events without him: plays, ballets North, local institutions, etc.. He is the painter to whom it refers and call when the city lost its colors.
Mahjoub Ben Bella was enriched by his exile, without repudiating their birth culture, he enlisted in the western version of art. It is claiming this double heritage, it can define its own space, place both mentally and physically, of his new abode.
Import in the painting, a spelling immediately perceived as foreign, it is the work of two, is to create a fruitful tension between the visible and legible, and the writing is to be seen while the paint is given to read. Signs of Ben Bella away; a script originally set by the Arabic script, and each canvas is a new adventure, space, or the artist reinvents painting, regenerates.
Calligraphy is diverted from its primary function and re appropriate form plastic. The artist creates a constant and careful dialogue between the sign and color. This is because still, the source of each of its interventions, undiminished energy that drives him to not meet what he has already acquired.
The artist has exhibited regularly since 1970.
Mahjoub Ben Bella is also represented in a dozen museums and public collections in most major cities in France and Europe, Canada, New York, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco.From: Averroes
Album: Nabil Nahas (Lebanese, b.1949)Born in Egypt, Nahas grew up in Cairo and Beruit, then moved to the United States for university studies. He earned a BFA from Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge in 1971 and an MFA from Yale University in 1973. Encounters with contemporary painters at Yale influenced Nahas to move to New York, and is based there ever since.
He has exhibited regularly at important New York galleries and received much critical acclaim for his work. While usually working in an abstract idiom, Nahas has captivated audiences by his continual need for self-re-invention and the high technical finish he lavishes on his work.
Nahas’ paintings have made use of geometric motifs and decorative patterns inspired by the rich history of Islamic art; at the same time, Nahas is thoroughly schooled in the tradition Western abstract painting. Sometimes these two poles combine quite provocatively in his work; usually, they are seamlessly merged into brightly-colored paintings, suggestive of the richness of nature and of the imagination. One of Nahas’ most significant innovations has been his use of the bodies of starfish, sometimes cast in acrylic paint, on top of which he layers high-chroma acrylic paint.
In his most recent work, Nahas surprisingly introduces recognizable forms of cedar, pine and olive trees, native to Lebanon, in his most direct references yet to his native land. His latest exhibition in Beirut Exhibition Center (by Solidere) was a fitting celebration of all he has achieved and of the artistic journey he has taken.From: Averroes
Album: Marwan Kassab Bachi (Syrian, b. 1934)Marwan Kassab Bachi-studied 1955-1957 Arabic literature at the University of Damascus . In 1957 he came to Berlin and studied under Hann Trier painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin .
From 1963 he worked as a freelance artist in Berlin and belonged to the circle of Georg Baselitz and Eugen Schoenebeck . From 1977 to 1979 he was a visiting professor of painting at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, where he in 1980 full professor was appointed in painting and taught until 2002. He was a 1992-2000 member of the jury for the Fred-Thieler price of Berlinische Gallery . Among his pupils are Karolin Haegele , Christian Lutze , Salah Saouli and Osama Said .
Marwan is married and lives in Berlin-Pankow .
About 25 of his works are in public buildings such as galleries, museums and collections. This includes Europe, the National Museums in Berlin , the Federal Art Collection in Bonn, the National Graphic Arts Collection in Munich, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. In the Middle East, his work including the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation is Amman , the University of Bir Zait , the National Museum of Damascus and the Khalil al-Sakakini Cultural Centre in Ramallah and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.From: Averroes
Album: Mohammed Kacimi (Moroccan, 1942-2003)Mohammed Kacimi was born in 1942 in Morocco. He discovered his passion for painting at the age of 15, a passion he combines with poetry. His paintings are greatly influenced by the art of calligraphy and have been exhibited throughout the Arab world and in France.From: Averroes
Album: Rafa Al Nasiri (Iraqi, b.1940)Rafa al-Nasiri is a renowned Iraqi artist who was educated in Iraq, Germany, Portugal and China, and became the Chair of the Department of Graphic Art at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad in the 1970s. Besides his paintings and graphic art, he is known for the Art Books he has produced to celebrate classical and modern poets, including Al-Mutanabbi and Mahmoud Darwish. He was a member of the ‘New Vision’ group and his work has been included in international exhibitions, including ‘Word into Art’ (British Museum) and the touring exhibition ‘Dafatir: Contemporary Iraqi Book Art’. He has won several prestigious prizes in Europe and the Middle East for his art. He has lived in Bahrain and Paris and is presently living in Amman.
The Artist's official YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/rafanasiriFrom: Averroes
Album: Abdulrahim Sharif (Bahraini, b.1954)At the age of 5, when Abdul Rahim Sharif saw a painting by French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir called (The luncheon of the boating party, 1881) on a chocolate box which made him start painting.
At the age of 12, he sold his first successful painting (Boat builders in Bahrain) and thus he carried on.
He studied art at the E'cole Nationale Superieur Des Beaux-Arts De Paris in France, where at the age of 20 he won the award of drawing on all the schools of art in France. After he obtained his degree in Paris, he moved to New York City were he received his Master in fine arts from Parsons School of Design.
His work has been selected by numerous international museums and collections.From: Averroes
Album: Ahmed Askalany (Egyptian, b. 1978)Born in Nag Hammadi, Egypt. Askalany Lives and works in Cairo.Askalany’s work retains an explicit connection with traditional materials and craft methods associated with the ancient cultures of Egypt. Woven palm leaves and resin offer him an essential association with his native roots. His subjects include human figures and animals inspired and representative of his native town, Nag Hammadi, in Upper Egypt. The figurines are characterised by a preserved, mummied-like look. Nonetheless, the work remains of a profound nature, possessing a certain gesture and a sense of innocence.
Askalany’s work is characterised by traditional plastic forms that place emphasis on structure and volume. Yet, his approach remains far from being restrictive. On the contrary, Askalany challenges the very boundaries associated with the notion of what is perceived as crafts and the arts. He offers a new capacity for interpretation and aesthetic value. By doing so, Askalany manages to respond and contribute to the complexity of contemporary artistic practice.From: Averroes
Album: Mohammed Melehi (Moroccan, b. 1936)Melihi studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Tetouan. He later became a full-time professor at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Casablanca from 1964 to 1969. Along with with Belkahia and Shebaa, he co-founded the Cultural Festival of Asilah. Melehi was an active member of the journal Integral from 1976 to 1982, and was a director of the Department of Arts Cultural Affairs. From 1985 to 1992 Melehi was appointed Chief of Staff and Director of Arts at the Ministry of Culture. It is dedicated to the creation of new exhibition spaces in different cities of the Kingdom and promoting art and culture Moroccan worldwide. In 2001 he was appointed Chief of Staff to the Foreign Minister, Benaissa.From: Averroes
Album: Ahmad Moualla (Syrian, b.1958)Ahmad Moualla has become well known for his beautifully-painted and highly dramatic canvases. Often composed on a grand scale, Moualla’s theatrical paintings wrestle with the often strained relationships between society and the individual; of the power of past and present icons and by the increased blurring of line between reality and fiction, and the conscious and subconscious mind.
Born in Syria in 1958, Moualla is considered as one of the leading post-modern artists in Syrian expressionism. He was the first to introduce performance in his work, first exhibited at Atassi Gallery in 1997 with the exhibition entitled “A tribute to Saadallah Wannaous” ( the late Syrian playwright). Moualla graduated from the Damascus University of Fine Arts followed by the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts in Paris. Since then he has participated in various exhibitions in Dubai, Cairo, Paris, Istanbul and Graz (Austria) among others.From: Averroes
Album: Fateh Moudarres (Syrian, 1922 -1965)Born in Aleppo, Fateh al-Moudarres was a Syrian painter and one of the leaders of the modern art movement in the Arab World.
He studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome from 1954 to 1960 and developed a distinctive style of painting that incorporated both movements. He abandoned the religious iconography and Syrian Art references of his early work for non-objectivity in the 1960’s. After 1967 however, his work took on political themes.
Moudarres studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris for three years in the early 1970’s, and honed his technical and compositional skills before returning to Syria to teach at the University of Damascus an opportunity that allowed him to interract with other young Syrian artists.
Growing up Fateh Moudarres spent much time in the countryside, but the agricultural crisis of the 1960s forced him to relocate to Damascus. The city at that time was experiencing a period of unprecedented growth and fast becoming an increasingly cramped and hostile environment in which to live. These conditions were compounded by the political and social unrest sweeping the Arab World. Against this backdrop Moudarres, along with several his artist contemporaries, often sought to depict the everyday people and the problems they encountered. He was especially moved by the life of ordinary people in the Syrian countryside. For them, what on the surface which can often incorrectly be characterized as an idyllic existence was in fact a way of life marred by problems caused by social upheavals. The present composition depicts the life of the simple peasants, showing the country bride and wedding party. In such a scene one might expect to see joyful celebration, but instead there is a palpable aura of sadness, as Moudarres reveals something of his feelings about suffering and helplessness of these women in the rural areas.From: Averroes
Album: Gouider Triki (Tunisian, b.1949)Born in Nabel in 1949. Works and lives in Tunisia.
Triki belongs to the second generation of tunisian artists and its first generation of engravers. He spent time in studios of Lagrange and Couteau where he learnt wood cutting and wood engraving. He strengthened his spiritual links with his Tunisian roots by spending part of his time farming the land while working at his art.From: Averroes
Album: Paul Guiragossian (Palestinian, 1926-1993)Born in Jerusalem, and later settled in Beirut with his family in 1939. He started his artistic career in 1942 at the Yarkon Studio. In 1957, he received a scholarship to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. In 1961-1962, he spent a year studying and painting in Paris. The rest of his life was spent living and painting in Beirut. Upon his death in 1993, Guiragossian received a state funeral.
Guiragossian had a foreboding sense of tragedy from his earliest years. Some of his early paintings were haunted by a figure who had lost one leg, a prophecy of his own misfortune, when in the early 1970s he lost a leg in an elevator accident.
Paul Guiragossian was consumed by his art and paid little attention to anything but his family and his painting. His mature works express the complexities of the human condition through renderings of vertical, elongated, purged bodies, both static and in motion, painted with thick layers of often luminous colors. His paintings are always serious in feeling. He also created frescoes, mosaics, stained glass windows, sculptures, and illustrations for books.From: Averroes
Album: Mohammed Omar Khalil (Sudanese, b.1936)Born in Burri, Sudan, in 1936, Mohammed Omar Khalil studied at the School of Fine & Applied Arts in Khartoum in 1959 and won a Sudanese Government Scholarship to study at the Art Academy in Florence, Italy in 1963. He moved since to the US where he has taught at New York University, Columbia University, Parsons School of Design and Pratt Institute. He also works as a master printer for several New York
galleries. Recent exhibitions include the Smithsonian Institution, Skoto Gallery, NY; Asilah Gallery, Morrocco; and Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.
He lives and works in New York City.
His work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Library of Congress and many private collections throughout the world.
He is the recipient of the Leo Meissner Prize for Printmaking, National Academy; 1st Prize, Inter-Biennial of Cairo; and the Bronze Prize, Osaka Triennial, Osaka, Japan.From: Averroes
Album: Saliba Douaihy (Lebanese, 1912-1994)Born in Ehden on 14 Sept 1912. After an apprenticeship with the Habib Srour (1860-1938) in Beirut, he studied from 1932 to 1936 at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris. In 1934 he received the top award for drawing at the school and later exhibited his work at the Salon des Artistes Francais. After graduating in 1936, he returned to Lebanon, opening a studio in Beirut, and becoming well known in the early 1940s for his frescoes in the Maronite church at Diman. At the same time his paintings of Lebanese life and the countryside came to public notice when he exhibited at the gallery of the Hotel St-Georges, Beirut, though by the late 1940s he had begun to simplify the style of his work. In 1950 he moved to New York, where his paintings became increasingly abstract, consisting of flat forms of brilliant colour with hard straight edges. Although he was influenced by the artistic life around him, and by his acquaintance with Rothko, Hans Hofmann and Ad Reinhardt, he did not join any group or movement. He became an American citizen in 1963 and in 1966 confirmed his reputation with a one-man show at the Contemporaries Gallery, New York. He also continued to produce representational religious works, for example in 1955 painting 27 panels for the newly constructed church of Mar Hanna near Zgharta in Lebanon. In 1971 he worked in stained glass at the Maronite convent church at Annaya in Lebanon, where he employed for the first time his own technique in which the coloured glass was built up in overlapping layers, without lead bars. A further commission, completed in 1978, resulted in 65 stained-glass windows for the church of Our Lady of the Cedars of Lebanon, at Jamaica Plain, near Boston, MA.
He spent in London four years (1982 – 1986) where he got married. He then moved to Paris in 1989 and finally back to New York where he died on Friday 21 January 1994.From: Averroes
Album: Adel El Siwi (Egyptian, b.1952)Born in Behera (Egypt), Adel El Siwi studied medicine at Cairo University in the 1970s and later pursued a career in fine art after independently taking up painting full time since 1979. In 1980 he relocated to Milan where he lived and worked for a decade before moving back to Cairo where he continues to live and work. El Siwi has exhibited both nationally and internationally including the Cairo Biennial 2008, Arabia Italia at the Chelsea Art Museum, New York 2008 and the seminal Word into Art curated by Venetia Porter at the British Museum also in 2008 among many others. His works reside in collections both regionally and internationally including the Museum of Modern Egyptian Art, the Museum of the Institute of the Arab World, the American University of Cairo, along with many other respected museums around the world.From: Averroes
Album: Ismail Fattah (Iraqi 1934-2004)Born in Basra, Ismail Fatah Al-Turk ("Ismail Fatah") received degrees in painting and sculpture from the Baghdad Institute of Fine Arts and a degree in sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome.
He held six exhibition for sculpture and five exhibitions for paintings in Rome, Baghdad and Beirut.
He was the winner of first prize for Arab artists in Italy.
He was a member of Baghdad group (1957) and the Al-Zawia group.
Fatah taught sculpture at the Baghdad Institute of Fine Arts.
Fatah is also known for bronze statues of Marouf Al-Rasafi, an Iraqi nationalist poet of the 1940s, of the Abbasid poet Abu Nuwas, and of Abbasid painter Al Wasety.
He designed and executed several important monuments and statues in Baghdad, the most famous of which is the turquoise blue split dome of the Al-Shaheed Monument (Martyrs' Monument), completed in 1983.
While living and working in Qatar, Fatah contracted cancer. He returned to Baghdad where he died 21 July 2004.From: Averroes
Album: Dia Azzawi (Iraqi, b.1939)Born 1939, Baghdad, Dia (Al) Azzawi is internationally recognised as one of the pioneers of modern Arab art. His oeuvre comprises over forty years of work and displays the remarkable creativity of an incredibly versatile artist. Defined by its powerful visual impact and brilliant colour, Al-Azzawi's art covers a range of subjects executed in a variety of media-including painting, sculpture, prints, drawings, and book art. He lives and works in London but continues to derive inspiration from his homeland, Iraq.
With exhibitions of his work held worldwide, his art features in the collections of museums and institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, Baghdad; Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar Foundation, Doha; Museum of Modern Art, Damascus; Museum of Modern Art, Tunis; Museum of Modern Art, Amman; Kinda Foundation, Saudi Arabia; Una Foundation, Casablanca; Arab Monetary Fund, Abu Dhabi; Development Fund, Kuwait; Jeddah International Airport; British Museum, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Saudi Bank, London; United Bank of Kuwait, London; Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; Bibliothéque Nationale de France, Paris; Colas Foundation, Paris; Harba Collection, Iraq and Italy; Gulbenkian Collection, Barcelona; Library of Congress, Washington D.C.; and The World Bank, Washington D.C.
Al-Azzawi started his artistic career in 1964, after graduating from the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad and completing a degree in Archaeology from Baghdad University in 1962. His studies of ancient civilizations and Iraqi heritage had a profound impact on his art, and a key objective in the early formation of his artistic style was to link the visual culture of the past to the present.
In 1969, Al-Azzawi formed the New Vision Group (al-Ru'yya al-Jadidah), uniting fellow artists ideologically and culturally as opposed to stylistically. The group's manifesto, Towards a New Vision, highlighted an association between art and revolution, and sought to transcend the notion of a 'local style'-coined by the Baghdad Modern Art Group-by broadening the parameters of local culture to include the entire Arab world. The group held their final exhibition in 1972.
Through his involvement with the New Vision Group Al-Azzawi found inspiration in contemporary subjects and issues, particularly the plight of Palestinians. His shift from themes of antiquity and legend to that of pain, death, and conflict altered his stylistic approach to painting significantly. These works lacked the vivid colour and ornamentation of earlier images and, instead, utilised bold outlines, attention to detail, and improvisational techniques.
Al-Azzawi's move to London, in 1976, led him to rediscover book art. Having researched the collection of Islamic manuscripts housed in the British Library, he affirms that the art of the book is the truest art form of the Arab world, even more so than painting, and encourages artists of the region to draw inspiration from, and reinterpret, this tradition.From: Averroes