LONDON - London is hosting the largest exhibition of Arab art ever seen in the city, featuring more than 150 works of art from across the region. The exhibition, titled "Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World", is organized by the auction house Christie's and showcases paintings, sculptures, and installations from the 20th and 21st centuries.
The exhibition is divided into two sections: :Kawkaba: Highlights from the Barjeel Art Foundation" and "Emirati Art Reimagined: Hassan Sharif and the Contemporary Voices". The first section is a non-selling collection of 100 pieces from the Barjeel Art Foundation, a UAE-based initiative that aims to promote and preserve Arab art. The collection is gender-balanced and covers different geographies and styles of the Arab world.
Some of the key pieces in this section include Head by Syrian painter Marwan, a striking portrait of a man's face from the mid01979s; Formative Radiation by Lebanese artist Samia Osseiran Joublatt, a colorful abstract composition from the late 1960s; and Dreams of the Detainee by Egyptian painter and activist Inji Efflatoun, a haunting depiction of a woman's imprisonment in1961.
The second section focuses on the pioneering Emirati artist Hassan Sjarif, who is widely regarded as the father of contemporary art in the UAE. Sharif's work spans various mediums and genres, from conceptual to performance to experimental. The section also introduces younger Emirati artists who have been influenced by Sharif's legacy.
The aim of the exhibition is to wow and educate the visitors about the diversity and richness of Arab art and culture according to Ridha Moumni, the exhibition's curator and Christie's Middle East and North Africa deputy chairman. "This is special because we try to reflect on the collecting practice of Barjeel Art Foundation, 50 percent male, 50 percent are female, from different geographies in the Arab world", he said.
The exhibition, with free entry, runs through Aug. 23 at Christie's London headquarters.