Elmarsa Gallery On Roster
Elmarsa Gallery: On The Roster
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Elmarsa Gallery is now hosting On the Roster, a group exhibition that features some of North Africa’s most prominent modern and contemporary artists (22 in total). The gallery presents a nuanced perspective on the iconic stylistic elements that have propelled these art practitioners to the zenith of recognition. The show will be open to the public until the 20th of February, 2024.

Among Tunisian artists presented in the exhibition are Ammar Farhat (1911-1987), Moses Levy (1885-1968), Asma M’Naouar (b. 1965), Atef Maatallah (b. 1981), and Hedi Turki (1922-2019). Farhat was one of the most influential Tunisian painters; he co-founded the École de Tunis in 1948. In his work, the artist focused on the daily life of Tunisian workers and artisans. Levy is known for the paintings he created while living in Viareggio, Italy. These are landscapes, which include the city’s beach, one of the main themes found in his works.

Asma M’Naouar, Abstraction 5, 2019. Oil on canvas. 120 x 110 cm

Asma M’Naouar produces oil paintings drawing from lyrical abstraction. In her works, she focuses on red colour and portrays a world of fiery lights by employing various tones. Meanwhile, Atef Maatallah‘s paintings and drawings depict commonplace scenes and characters. They evoke the fragile lives of those the artist encounters in his daily life. Hedi Turki was a pioneer of abstract art in Tunisia (his homeland). He worked on colour fields and lines which looked like grids. Filled with a deep sense of Tunisia, Turki’s art was marked by a religious aspect.

Hedi Turki, Composition Gris et Jaune, 1983. Oil on canvas. 73.5 x 60 cm

In the exhibition, visitors can also look at works by such Algerian artists as Baya Mahieddine (1931-1998) and Abdelkader Guermaz (1919-1996). Baya did not self-identify as belonging to a particular art genre. However, critics describe her paintings as surrealist, primitive, naïve, and modern. To produce her bright art pieces, she used colours and motifs drawn from Kabyle art. The recurring themes in her artworks were gardens, ceramics, and traditional textiles. Guermaz was among the founders of Algerian modern art. Although he painted figurative land­scapes and still-lifes until 1955, after that year, his art became abstract. He began to paint modulated neutral fields punctuated by touches of colour and grid-like patterns. 

Abdelkader Guermaz, Composition 2, 1965. Oil on canvas. 46 x 38 cm.

The other artists included in the exhibition are Aly Bellagha (1924-2006), Aly Ben Salem (1910-2001), Jellal Ben Abdallah (1921-2017), Nejib Belkodja (1933–2007), Mahjoub Ben Bella (1946-2020), Khaled Ben Slimane (b. 1951), Omar Bey (b. 1973), Hatem El Mekki (1918-2003), Abdelaziz Gorgi (1928-2007), Halim Karabibene (b. 1962), Mohammed Khadda (1930-1991), Nello Levy (1921-1992), Nja Mahdaoui (b. 1937), Rafik El Kamel (1944-2021), Abderrazak Sahli (1941-2009), and Gouider Triki (b. 1949).

Acrylic on canvas. 96.5 x 194 cm l 38 x 76 1/4 in

To get more information about On The Roster, please visit the show’s official web page.

You may also be interested in attending Distilled Lessons: Abstraction in Arab Modernism at Mathaf.

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