Nejib Belkhodja, Première Lueur, 2006, Oil on canvas, 60 x 60 cm
Abu Dhabi Art
November 15 – 17, 2018
Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Cultural District
Elmarsa is pleased to participate in the tenth edition of Abu Dhabi Art with a group exhibition of leading Modern and Contemporary artists from North Africa. Through a selection of important diverse works, the exhibition offers a perspective on the development of modern art from the region during the second half of the twentieth century up until today.
While working in their respective visual languages and unique mixed media practices, as well as belonging to different generations, Baya (1931-1998), Gouider Triki (b. 1949), Khaled Ben Slimane (b. 1951), Nja Mahdaoui (b.1937) and Samir Triki (b.1950) share a passionate and intellectual engagement in defining their individual and artistic identity through rich and varied influences from their Mediterranean, African and Arab heritage. Inspired by the spirit of self-determination that still animates the whole Arab region as it undergoes historic change, these works offer a lens on rich visual languages composed of folk symbols, geometric forms and abstract compositions influenced by calligraphy, while widening their exploration of the world and diverse aesthetic traditions to give rise to a more universal potential for North African art.
The exhibition continues with the figurative paintings of early Tunisian modernists from pioneers Aly Ben Salem (1910-2001) and Ammar Farhat (1911-1987) to Jellal Ben Abdallah (b. 1921), Aly Bellagha (1924-2006) and Abdelaziz Gorgi (1928-2008) whose realist representations of life in the Maghreb mark a shift away from the orientalist academic style of painting taught in local art schools established by the French Protectorate. A period of experimentation follows with works by prominent postmodernists such as Nejib Belkhodja (1933-2007) who explores abstraction through traditional Tunisian architecture or Hatim Elmekki (1918-2003) whose expressive style became more politically-charged at the end of colonial empires in Tunisia and Algeria.
Pierre Boucherle, La mosquée de Takrouna, région du Sahel, Circa 1950, Oil on canvas, 81 x 65 cm
L’Ecole de Tunis: an introduction
12 November 2018 – 12 January 2019
Unit 23, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai
Elmarsa is pleased to present L’Ecole de Tunis: an introduction, a group exhibition of the most influential artists in Tunisian early history. The exhibition brings together a selection of important paintings and drawings by the pioneers of the Ecole de Tunis, an artistic movement from the mid-twentieth century that sought a new alignment with the experience and values of Tunisian society and culture.
The origins of Tunisian painting goes back to the middle of the 19th century with orientalist painting and the travelling painters coming from different horizons to discover the East. Around 1920, Tunisian painters begun to move away from the rigorous style of the French Academie that was reigning at the time. Through the representation of typical scenes of daily life, Tunisian artists, either native-born or not, were showing greater freedom in their artistic expression and form. Until the independence in 1956, the established artistic styles, mainly narrative figuration, were strongly influenced by the rigorous style of the Academie, thus reflecting an idealized image of reality.
Pierre Boucherle (1894-1988) founded the Group of Four with other painters, which quickly became the Group of Ten, and then evolved into the Ecole de Tunis which held its first exhibition in 1949, including artists Moses Levy (1885-1968), Yahia Turki (1902-1969), Ammar Farhat (1911-1987), Abdelaziz Gorgi (1928-2008), Jellal Ben Abdallah (1921-2017),Edgard Naccache (1917-2006),Antonio Corpora (1909-2004), Jules Lellouche (1903-1963),Aly Ben Salem (1910-2001) and Hatim El Mekki (1918-2003). The group was joined shortly after by artists Nello Levy (1921-1992) (son of Moses Levy), Hedi Turki (b. 1922), Zoubeir Turki (1924-2009), Safia Farhat (1924-2004), Aly Bellagha (1924-2006)and Brahim Dhahak (1938-2011).