Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 25 September 2020

New exhibition on late artist Kamal Boullata to show his last work

The work from 2018 bears the Palestinian artist's signature geometric style and will be shown with other silkscreen prints

'Qasiba' (2018) by Kamal Boullata, the last work produced by the artist. Courtesy Meem Gallery
'Qasiba' (2018) by Kamal Boullata, the last work produced by the artist. Courtesy Meem Gallery

A key figure in modern Arab art, Kamal Boullata was known for his colourful silkscreens that featured geometric elements and Arabic calligraphy. The Jerusalem-born Palestinian artist and polymath died in Berlin last year.

The last work he produced will be on view at Dubai’s Meem Gallery from February 18 to March 9.

Created in late 2018, the silkscreen Qasida – Arabic for ‘poem’ – possesses Boullata’s distinctive style. Bearing the colours of the Palestinian flag, a series of rotating geometric units form a pattern that is reminiscent of a poem’s rhyme.

'Qasiba' (2018) by Kamal Boullata, the last work produced by the artist. Courtesy Meem Gallery
'Qasiba' (2018) by Kamal Boullata, the last work produced by the artist. Courtesy Meem Gallery

Boullata made the artwork to support Al Shabaka, a Palestinian non-profit think-tank that focuses on Palestinian human rights.

The rest of the exhibition will comprise silkscreen prints produced between 1983 to 2018, including the vibrant Three Quartets (1993) and Twelve Lanterns of Granada (1995), which follow the aesthetic of Qasida with their repeating forms.

Other works such as Allah Mahabba (God is Love) and Dhul Jalal Wal-Ikram (The Lord of Majesty & Bounty), from the 1980s, showcase Boullata’s earlier experiments with the hurufiyya movement or letterism, classified by transforming elements of Islamic calligraphy into modern, abstract art.

Kamal Boullata's 'Allah Mahabba (God is Love)' from 1983. Courtesy Meem Gallery
Kamal Boullata's 'Allah Mahabba (God is Love)' from 1983. Courtesy Meem Gallery

On February 29, the founder of Sharjah’s Barjeel Art Foundation, Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, will take part in a discussion about Boullata’s art practice and literary work. The foundation has a number of the artist’s works in its collection.

Boullata, who was also an author, was one of the first to write about Palestine’s art history. As part of the exhibition, Meem Gallery will launch two books – There Where You Are Not, a collection of essays by the artist and Uninterrupted Fugue, a selection of essays by scholars on his work.

More information can be found on meemartgallery.com

Updated: January 24, 2020 04:22 PM

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