If Damien Hirst was creating waves with his fetus sculptures in Doha, Qatar, Kuwait was not far behind. In a month-long exhibition, Boushahri Art Gallery made great strides in its very own ‘Miraculous Journey of Arab Art,’ that provided an exciting odyssey beckoning the art aficionados and critics.
In an unusual take, Boushahri Gallery presented an intriguing exhibition of over 75 works drawn from the private collections. Reflecting the dynamism of Kuwait’s art scene and its wealthy collectors, the opportunity offered audiences a rare chance to explore an array of critically acclaimed artworks that ranged from figurative works to intense abstract compositions that have been tucked away in people’s homes for years.
Among the renowned artists featured at the show were: Omar El Nagdy, Paul Guiragossian, Hassan Soliman, Fateh Al Moudarres, Sami Mohammed, Tahia Halim, Youssef Abdelke, Helmy El Touni, Issam El Said and Rachid Koraichi.
Other notable names were: Hrair Diarbekirian, Ayman Baalbaki, Louay Kayyali, Serwan Baran, Abdul Latif Al Smoudi, Fatima El Hajj and Amine El Bacha.
From Paul Guiragossian to Amine El Bacha, Lebanese artists seemed to be real favorites. One of Lebanon’s most revered painters, Guiragossian’s melancholic renderings of elongated female forms on canvas were hauntingly beautiful.
The work of Lebanese artist Fatima El Hajj, known for her tender renderings in a vibrant palette, was equally spectacular. She carefully explores the relations and juxtaposition of memories in her work.
In his imposing work, the visual style of Hrair Diarbekirian was exuberant. With a purity of line and color, the artist’s skill lies in incorporating gold leaf and has earned international recognition for his work. His work is among the collections of Kuwait’s Royal family, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Rainier of Monaco, the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Anthony Quinn.
As a painter and installation artist, Lebanese artist Ayman Baalbaki has always worked outside the box. Blending art and activism, Baalbaki reveals the strength of portraiture within his oeuvre and the work on display was a powerful statement on the current socio-political fabric in the region.
Some of the most eloquent works were from Iraq. Issam El Said’s exquisitely detailed painting, depicting the silhouettes of three women, was rendered with artistic precision on canvas.
Striking a balance between the traditional and the contemporary, the narrative visuals of Egyptian artist Omar El Nagdy’s works are imbued with a blend of symbolic elements, abstractions and assertions and have few parallels.
One of the world’s most acclaimed contemporary artists, El Nagdy draws inspiration from native aesthetics and areas of Renaissance—human figures, nature and the landscape.
Finally, among the artists, the one who stood out tall for his thought-provoking work was the Syrian artist Youssef Abdelke, who was recently in the news when he was jailed for over a month during the political turmoil in the country.
“It has been an honor to have had this opportunity to showcase these artworks from the top-notch artists of the region, that are loaned from private collections,” said Yahya Suwailem, Director of the Boushahri Gallery. He further acknowledged the generous support from the collectors.
Oscar Wilde once wrote, “Truth in art is the unity of a thing with itself: the outward rendered expressive of the inward; the soul made incarnate; the body instinct with spirit.” True to his words, the show was indeed a unique opportunity to discover rarely seen works, and soak up some thought- provoking art.
The exhibition held from October 1 to October 31 was an extraordinary success, both in terms of the quality and breadth of the iconic collection.
For further information, please contact Boushahri Art Gallery at: 2562 1119.