Unveiling the Canvas of the Arab World: Christie’s Hosts Historic Middle Eastern Art Exhibition

Christie’s in London is hosting one of the largest Middle Eastern art exhibitions ever seen, showcasing the vibrant coloured orbs by renowned Lebanese artist Samia Osseiran Joumblatt and a catalogue of over 150 artworks spanning from 1939 to present day.

Among the myriad art pieces are key works like ‘Head’ by the late Syrian painter Marwan Kassab-Bachi and ‘The Last Sound’ by celebrated Sudanese artist Ibrahim El-Salahi.

This monumental exhibition has been masterminded by Curator and Deputy Chairman for Middle East and North Africa at Christie’s, Dr Ridha Moumni. He emphasised the strategic role of Christie’s as a conduit between various geographical landscapes, saying, “Christie’s operates in the Middle East. And Christie’s also is a bridge between different geographies.”

The timing of this exhibition aligns with the influx of global visitors from different destinations, including those from the Arab world, to appreciate the Middle Eastern art scene. “We thought it would be the perfect moment to present during this period of the year when you have a lot of people coming from different destinations to bring these beautiful artworks. These artworks are all from one region, the Arab region,” Dr Moumni stated.

The exhibition pays special tribute to Emirati artists while also highlighting works from across the Arab world, including Egyptian Inji Afflatoun’s ‘Dreams of the Detainee’ and ‘Il nous a dit comment cela s’est passé’ by Kadhim Hayder from Iraq.

Dr Moumni highlighted the unique role of artists as windows into reality, embodying their region’s cultural and social ethos.

In a parallel exhibition, one of the titans of Middle Eastern art, Hassan Sharif, is being honoured. Sharif, an Emirati conceptual artist who resided in Dubai until he died in 2016, was celebrated for his distinctive work with various materials. His pieces will be displayed alongside contemporary works by young artists such as Farah Al Qasimi.

“Hassan Sharif is one of the most exceptional artists of the Arab world. He brought conceptual art to the UAE, and the Gulf was avant-garde and reinvented the conceptual art in the Arab world. He was extremely impactful,” stated Dr Moumni.

Most of the works on display are on loan, primarily from the Barjeel Art Foundation, but approximately 30 pieces will be made available for purchase later this year.

The exhibition has been organised in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth and the Barjeel Art Foundation. It will run until August 23, offering art lovers an immersive journey through Middle Eastern art history.