Asma Mnaouar

  • Biography

    Born in Tunisia in 1965, Asma M’Naouar graduated in Aesthetics and Arts Science from the Fine Arts School of Tunis in 1988 and the Academy of Art Schools of Rome in 1993. Obtaining a number of artist residency grants, she stayed in Luzern, Paris and also in Lebanon. Then, she settled in Italy in 2002 where she completed her Master in Conservation at Palazzo Spinelli in Florence. Throughout her career, she received various prizes including the 1st Prize of the critic “Giordano Bruno” in Solerno, Italy, in 1993 and the First Sailing Golden Prize at the Biennale of Kuwait in 1996. In 1999, she was awarded the 1st Prize for Visual Art by the Ministry of Culture in Tunisia.

    She became soon a major figure in abstract painting, particularly in Tunisia where she’s well-known for her oil paintings which are executed with great precision and are complex in composition. She uses physical strength while working up with many different layers of coated oil paint on the canvas. She confronts the empty surface of the canvas in search of order and sense without leaving anything to chance. She does not seek to reproduce an ideal or nature, but rather a metaphysical energy. Influenced by the American movement "action painting", her painting reflects an extraordinary strength and spirit. She executes complex movements using the media in an extremely dynamic interplay of light and colors through the vivid, jarring, or violent application of formal elements. Besides the abstract expressionist movement from which she has retained in particular the physical automatism, her dominant influence remains the Italian Renaissance painting. In the tradition of conventional artist studios, she paints exclusively with oil - which she prepares and mixes herself. Between 1993 and 2002, she lived and worked in Rome and Florence where she devoted herself to painting.

    Since 1996, Asma has been regularly exhibiting at Elmarsa gallery where she had her latest solo exhibition in June 2010. In 2009, she exhibited at Galerie Gilbert Dufoix in Senlis, France. She took part in numerous group shows in Tunisia and abroad (Bergen, Norway and Rome, Italy). Her work has been shown in various museums such as in Poland and Switzerland as well as at biennales like in Germany in 2000. In addition, she participated in the itinerant exhibition “Un Autre Regard” which took place successively in Tunis in 2000 and in 2004 in Switzerland. Besides, her work has been widely shown in museums and biennales such as Sharjah Biennale (1995), Palazzo Suevo Bari, Italy (1998), the National Museum of Art in Kaunas/Lithuania (2003), Municipal museum of Pultsk in Poland (2004), the Arab World Institute in Paris (2008), Dar El Founoun inTunis, Alger, Rabat (2008), and at the Palais Namaskar in Marrakech as part of the exhibition Symbiose de deux mondes-L’Europe et le Maghreb initiated by The Written Art Foundation in Franckfurt. She is represented by Elmarsa gallery and participated in various international art fairs like Art Dubai, Abu Dhabi Art, Art Paris, Marrakech Art Fair, etc. She also took part in international art forums as a guest artist such as at the DIFC Global Art Forum in Dubai and at the Palais Namaskar in Marrakech where she exhibited her work within the framework of the exhibition. In 2015, she took part in the travelling exhibition « All the World’s a Mosque » curated by Lina Lazaar which was launched in Carthage, Tunisia.

    So far, her works can be found in many public and private collections including The Foundation Pietro Caporella in Rome, the Center Rachid Karamé in Tripoli, Lebanon and the Ministry of Culture in Tunisia as well as important collections in the UAE. She lives and works in Tunisia.



    2003 Master in Conservation - Institute for Art and Restoration, Palazzo Spinelli, Florence, Italy

    2001 Intergovernmental Agency of the Francophonie in Tripoli, Lebanon

    1997 Residency with the Workshop of Tunisia - International City of Arts Paris

    1996 Residency with the Workshop of Tunisia - International City of Arts Paris

    1995 Residency with the Bildzwang Workshop, Pro-Helvetia at Lucerne, Switzerland

    1994 Residency with the Bildzwang Workshop, Pro-Helvetia at Lucerne, Switzerland

    1993 Graduate of the Academy of the fine arts of Rome - Emphasis in Painting

    1988 Control in Aesthetics and Arts sciences - I.T.A.A.U.T. University of Tunis


    2009 1st Prize for the best representation of the city of Kairouan, Cultural capital of the Islamic world, delivered by the ASESCO (UNESCO).

    1999 1st Prize of Creation, Ministry of Culture, Tunisia

    1996 “Golden Sailing” - 1st Prize - Biennale of Kuwait

    1993 1st Prize of the critic “Giordano Bruno” - Campagna - Solerno – Italy

    SOLO SHOWS (selection)

    2014 “City”, Elmarsa Gallery, Tunisia

    2010 “Untitled, 2010”, Elmarsa Gallery, Tunisia

    2009 Galerie Gilbert Dufois, Senlis, France

    2008 Exhibition at the Raiffeisenbank, Vienna, Austria

    2006 “Natura”, Elmarsa Gallery, Tunisia

    2004 “Mare Nostrum”, Elmarsa Gallery, Tunisia

    2004 “Mare Nostrum”, Dante Alghieri, Rome, Italy

    2002 “Mare Nostrum II”, Elmarsa Gallery, Tunisia

    1998 Elmarsa Gallery, Tunisia

    1997 Galerie de la Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France

    1996 Elmarsa Gallery, Tunisia

    1993 “Mare Nostrum”, Gallery I.M.M.ART. Fondation Caporella, Roma, Italy

    GROUP SHOWS (selection)

    2016 ‘Yesterday is tomorrow’s memory: a group show of work from North Africa’, Elmarsa gallery, Dubai, UAE

    2013 Symbiose de deux mondes-L’Europe et le Maghreb, Palais Namaskar in Marrakech, initiated by The Written Art Foundation in Franckfurt.

    2010 Arab Art Festival, next to the Exposition Universelle of Shangaï, China

    2009 “Sur les traces de la peinture contemporaine” (Tunisian Contemporary Painting), Elmarsa Gallery, Tunisia

    2009 Group exhibition, BIAT- Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie, Tunis, Tunisia

    2008 “The Emirates through the Arab Contemporary Artists’ Insights”, organized by the Ministry of Culture of the United Arab Emirates, DIFC, Dubai, UAE

    2008 “Artistes arabes entre l’Italie et le Maghreb” (“Arab artists between Italy and the Maghreb”), Dar El founoun, Tunis, Alger, Rabat

    2008 Exhibitions of women in the occasion of the 13 of August, Saragossa, Spain

    2008 “Art connexions”, Elmarsa Gallery, Tunisia

    2008 Printemps des Arts, Palais Abdelliya, La Marsa, Tunisia

    2007 “Femmes créatives de Tunisie”, Palais de l’UNESCO, Paris, France

    2006 “Mémoire de Demain” Elmarsa Gallery, Tunisia

    2006 Arab Art Festival, Beijing, China

    2005 “Tunisian women and art” UNESCO and IMA-Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France

    2005 “Regard sur la Tunisie” Elmarsa Gallery, Tunisia

    2004 Municipal museum “Four Corners of the World”, Pultsk, Poland

    2004 Elmarsa Gallery, Tunisia

    2003 MK Ciurlionis - National Museum of Art, Kaunas, Lithuania

    2003 “5 + 5 Artists of Two Banks of the Mediterranean” Acropolium museum of Carthage, Tunisia

    2003 Elmarsa Gallery, Tunisia

    2002 Hordaland International Art Gallery, Bergen, Norway

    2002 Exhibitions “French-speaking Artists” 9th summit of the “francophonie”, Palais de l’UNESCO, Beirut, Lebanon

    2002 Elmarsa Gallery, Tunisia

    2001 “Europ' Art” Geneva, Switzerland

    2001 Elmarsa Gallery, Tunisia

    2000 “Variations 2000” Gallery El Teatro, Tunis, Tunisia

    2000 Exposition Universelle of Hanover, Tunisian Pavilion, Germany

    2000 Exhibition of Swiss artists having lived in Tunisia and Tunisian artists having lived in Switzerland

    2000 “Un autre regard” (A different insight), Palais Kheireddine, Tunis, Tunisia

    2000 Elmarsa Gallery, Tunisia

    1999 “Beirut cultural capital” Palais de l’UNESCO, Beirut, Lebanon

    1999 Elmarsa Gallery, Tunisia

    1998 Exposition Universelle of Lisbon, Portugal

    1998 “Dix années de jeune peinture tunisienne”, Palazzo Suevo Bari, Italy

    1997 “Another glance” Museum of Modern Art of Bienn/ Gallery ITTEN, Bienn, Switzerland

    1997 “Ten years of young Tunisian painting” Charles de Gaulle Library, Tunis, Tunisia

    1996 “Chassé croisé” Tunisian and European Painters of the 20th century, Palais Kheireddine, Tunis, Tunisia

    1995 “Kunswinter” Contemporary art museum of Luzern, Switzerland.

    1995 Biennale of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

    1994 “Crossing cultures” Gallery MAE, Marseilles, France/ Museum of Carthage, Tunisia

    1994 “Folgoratti sulla via di Damasco” Covent of Saint Onofrio, Rome

    1994 “The light, the project, the form” with Molinari and Vinciguerra, Fondation Caporella, Italy

    1993 “Mare Nostrum” Galerie I.M.M.ART, Rome, Italy


    Private collections in the UAE

    Ministry of Culture in United Arab Emirates

    Ministry of Culture in Lebanon

    Ministry of Culture in Tunisia

    The Foundation Pietro Caporella in Roma, Italy