Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 4 April 2020

Who is Mohammed Khadda? Google Doodle pays homage to Algerian artist

The artist would have been 90 today

French-Algerian artist Mohammed Khadda is honoured on his birthday by Google.
French-Algerian artist Mohammed Khadda is honoured on his birthday by Google.

Cubism and Arabic calligraphy were just a couple of Mohammed Khadda's influences. The self-taught artist is widely considered to be one of the founders of contemporary Algerian painting, and a representative of "sign painters", which refers to the "school of signs" movement from the late 1960s in Algeria, of which Khadda was an active participant.

While the painter, sculptor and writer died in Algiers on May 4, 1991, today would have been the artist's 90th birthday – and Google is marking the occasion by replacing its logo with a sketch of Khadda.

"Khadda represents a generation of Algerian artists who wove together calligraphic heritage and the formal language of Western abstraction through the 1950s," states the Barjeel Art Foundation in the artist's biography on the organisation's website. "Often working with a palette of earth tones, Khadda creates tactile compositions that layer Arabic writing and calligraphy over atmospheric abstract canvases."

Khadda was born on March 14, 1930. He started out working for a printing company, where he honed his sketching skills before he fought for the National Liberation Army. It wasn't until he'd left the army that his career in art began to develop.

In 1953, Khadda travelled to Paris, France, where he lived for a decade and is said to have studied under Pablo Picasso. When he finally returned to Algeria, he became a founding member of the National Union of the Visual Arts, which was established in 1964.

He went on to regularly exhibit his ground-breaking works across Algeria and world, as well as illustrate novels and books of poetry for Algerian writers, including Rachid Boudjedra.

Mohammed Khadda. Wikimedia Commons/ Michel-Georges Bernard
Mohammed Khadda in 1981. Wikimedia Commons/ Michel-Georges Bernard

He was also heavily involved in the Aouchem (Arabic for "tattoo") art movement in Algeria of 1967, and is well known for creating more than 70 murals throughout the 1970s.

Other regional Google Doodles

Mohammed Khadda is not the first person from the Middle East and North Africa to celebrated with a Google Doodle. Here's a gallery of other doodles that have celebrated Mena heroes:

Updated: March 14, 2020 11:30 AM

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