Abderrazak Sahli’s “Wisdom of the Crowd”
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Until the 28th of January, 2023, one has an opportunity to visit the free exhibition titled “Wisdom of the Crowd”, which is dedicated to Abderrazak Sahli’s art, the famous Tunisian abstract painter. The show is being held by Elmarsa Gallery in Dubai and features his artworks which were created in the 90’s.

Abderrazak Sahli’s art practice included photography, poetry, prints, paintings, books, boxes, bamboo sticks, sculpture, and installations; he boldly incorporated local artistic traditions to contemporary techniques. The artist used accessible materials such as, for example, plant fiber canvases or burlap. He explored the potential of textures — played with their physical properties in order to make the color brighter and change its density or transparency.

Abderrazak Sahli, Untitled. Acrylic on jute. 127 x 108 cm

The main source of inspiration for Sahli was his homeland’s culture. His colourful works contain elements from Islamic architecture, objects used in the African or Berber communities, and Phoenician calligraphy. However, looking at Sahli’s oeuvre, one can also easily spot that the Abstract Expressionist and Russian Suprematist art, which Sahli was exposed to in Paris, had some influence on him. 

Sahli’s joyful art pieces are “inhabited” by numerous dancing silhouettes that impersonate animals and imaginary creatures. The show’s title “Wisdom of the Crowd” has its roots in what the artist once said describing his own work: “The clutter of objects in my canvases is […] a representation of […] the dense crowd that is force and movement”.

Abderrazak Sahli was born in 1941, Hammamet, Tunisia. In 1969, he graduated from the École des Beaux-Arts in Tunis and went to Paris in 1970. He got a degree in plastic arts from the Université Paris VIII – Vincennes in 1974, and in 1987 he graduated in graphic arts from the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris. Back in Tunisia, he worked at the École des Beaux-Arts in Tunis and Nabeul as a teacher. Sahli participated in the Paris Biennial (1971) and held solo exhibitions in Tunisia, France, Germany, Japan, and England.

To get more information about the exhibition, please visit its official web page.

You might also be interested in visiting Baya Mahieddine’s exhibition.