Baya Mahieddine (1931-1998)
18 March – 15 June, 2019
Alserkal Avenue, Dubai
Elmarsa Gallery in Dubai is pleased to present the exhibition of the work of self-taught Algerian artist Baya Mahieddine known as Baya. On view from March 18 through June 15, 2019 at Alserkal Avenue, the exhibition Baya Mahieddine (1931–1998) comprises some 15 gouache paintings that shed light on Baya’s groundbreaking career as the most famous Algerian woman artist. This second show of the artist organized by the gallery draws attention to Baya’s profound influence on North African post-colonial art movements during the mid-twentieth century and beyond. With artists like M’Hamed Issiakhem (1928-1985), Abdelkader Guermaz (1919-1996), Mohammed Khadda (1930-1991), Baya is among the most important and influential artists in Algerian modern art, and, like Frida Kahlo, was often associated with the Surrealist movement. Baya took her inspiration primarily from her homeland where she died in 1998. Her dreamlike quality work, rich in symbols and ornamentation was clearly influenced by her Algerian cultural heritage.
Orphaned at age five, Baya was drawn to art as an adolescent by observing what she lived with and saw all around her, a mix of Arab and Berber cultures. Baya was highly valued by many of the leading figures of the Parisian avant-garde such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and the father of Surrealism, André Breton, who exclaimed enthusiastically: “Baya is queen” in his writings on the young talented Algerian woman. Celebrated in Algeria, France, and the Middle East, Baya gained international recognition with the first North American exhibition organized by the Grey Art Gallery at New York University in 2018.