Hatim Elmekki Oil on paper mounted on canvas 171.5 x 93.5 cm - Copy


Abu Dhabi Art

16 – 20.11.2022

Booth S16

Manarat Al Saadiyat

Elmarsa Gallery is pleased to announce the gallery's participation in Abu Dhabi Art 2022, with a group presentation by various artists of the 20th and the 21st century from North Africa and the Middle-East. Specializing in both modern and contemporary art, the exhibition sheds a light on the work of some of the most influential and recognized artists of this era.

Mahjoub Ben Bella (Algeria, 1946 – 2020), Hassan El Glaoui (Morocco, 1923-2018), Rafik El Kamel (Tunisia, 1944-2021), Hatim Elmekki (Tunisia, 1918-2003), Abdelkader Guermaz (Algeria, 1919-1996), Ahmed Hajeri (Tunisia, b. 1948), Rachid Koraichi (Algeria, b. 1947), Baya Mahieddine (Algeria, 1931-1998), Jacques Majorelle (France, 1886-1962), Gouider Triki (Tunisia, b. 1949), Hedi Turki (Tunisia, 1922- 2019), And Ecole de Tunis.



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Abderrazak Sahli Untitled Acrylic on jute 142 x 142 cm 1 

Untitled, Acrylic on jute, 142 x 142 cm



Abderrazak Sahli (1941 – 2009)

Wisdom of the crowd

14 November 2022 – 28 January 2023


Elmarsa Gallery is very pleased to present a selection of unique works by Abderrazak Sahli (1941 – 2009), one of the most prominent Tunisian abstract painters of the 20th century. This exhibition offers to see his paintings on burlap that were executed in the nineties, and that remain little known to the public at large.

Born in 1941, Abderrazak Sahli, who was educated in the Koranic school of Zeitouniyya, explored the “defiguration” and “sonorisation” of words and texts as early as 1965. From then onwards he has worked in media as varied as photography, poetry, prints, paintings, books, boxes, bamboo sticks, sculpture, installations. His early figurative paintings later led to more conceptual exhibitions in Paris; combining old photographs and texts in Latin scripts of sonor poetry; other times his works were presented as part of a performance, with paintings and sculptures. His paintings react to a variety of stimuli, mixing unconscious elements with what is conscious, vigorous, and spontaneous. By alternating between the “full” (coloured) and the “empty” (uncoloured), Sahli seems to have endowed his starry mutant creatures with a kind of cosmic energy. The very expressive strength of the lightness of the forms or the shapes and the expressive strength of the whole is well demonstrated in his installation work « Buissons Ferriques » presented by Elmarsa at Art Projects at the first edition of Art Dubai in 2007, which was made of 100 metal stakes topped with painted patterns, in steel sheet metal of 180 to 270 cm height each.

Artist and poet, Abderrazak Sahli spent the majority of his life travelling between France and Tunisia. He embarked on a career in the visual arts in the 1960s, prompted by his friend and mentor Nejib Belkhodja, founder of the Tunis School of Art.

Sahli's abstract paintings are inspired by the decorative patterns and design elements of North Africa's architecture. However, they also draw upon the Abstract Expressionist and Russian Suprematist art that he encountered in Paris. The artist strips back his subjects to their bare essentials of shape, colour and form. He described his work thus:

"My painting is principally based on a multitude of objects and forms; it translates diversity. The clutter of objects in my canvases is nothing but a representation of the crowd, the dense crowd that is force and movement."

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Untitled, Acrylic on jute, 206 x 140 cm
Untitled, Acrylic on jute, 127 x 108 cm
Untitled, Acrylic on jute, 142 x 142 cm
Untitled, Acrylic on jute, 242 x 157 cm