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This exhibition focuses on the work of eight artists : Shafiq Abboud, Michel Basbous, Safeya Binzagr, Sadik Kwaish Alfraji, Tahar M'Guedmini, Marwan, Nabil Nahas and Rafa Al Nasiri. from Middle East and North Africa. Their works on paper were recently acquired by the British Museum.
If all of them have travelled and studied in Europe, two have worked alongside prominent European contemporaries: Syrian-born artist Marwan studied in Berlin with Georg Baselitz, and Lebanese sculptor and painter Michel Basbous was taught by Russian artist Ossip Zadkine. They work mixing those culture to theirs.
Some of them use the human body as central figure in their work (Tunisian-born Tahar M'Guedmini focused on anatomical drawing at the Beaux Arts in Paris, while Saudi painter Safeya Binzagr used the printmaking techniques she learnt at St Martin’s College in London to capture aspects of Saudi tradition, when others express themselves with abstraction and geometry (Lebanese artist Nabil Nahas and Iraqi artist Rafa Al Nasiri).
Finally, the artist book has become increasingly popular among Arab artists and Nasiri and Shafiq Abboud have found inspiration in the works of two of the best known Arab poets – Adonis (Ali Ahmad Said) and Mahmoud Darwish. Abboud, in another book included in the display, illustrates a French folktale. Iraqi-born Sadik Kwaish Alfraji uses the form of the book to tell his own story of exile which he then transforms into moving video works.