Creativity in Focus: The Ascendant Rise of Arab Art - Arts & Culture

Rizzoli and Misk Art Institute launch The Art Library: Discovering Arab Artists, a series dedicated to influential contemporary Arab art.

In collaboration with Rizzoli Books, the Misk Art Institute, a non-profit institution for the encouragement of the growth of a creative, cultural community, announced the launch of The Art Library: Discovering Arab Artists. This legacy initiative is a continuing publication that is dedicated to the most important and influential modern and contemporary Arab artists, with a focus on Saudi artists.

The aim is to create an accessible resource that will allow readers to look into a compelling spectrum of the trends and codes that enriched the world of current Arab art. These books will be published in Arabic and English, with a focus on documenting and displaying important works, and a look at their history and worldviews.

Abdulrahman Alsoliman’s Memory of First Neighbourhood (al-Kut) III | 2014 | Acrylic on canvas | 90 × 90 cm
Private collection (© Faisal Khan)

The first book will showcase the opus of Saudi painter Abdulrahman Alsoliman (1954), a leader in the Saudi art scene, and was president of the Saudi Society for Fine Arts from 2007 to 2012, while the second will be on and Egyptian artist Adam Henein (1229-2020), the founder of the International Sculpture Symposium in Aswan. Both artists will be presented with written pieces from local and international art critics, curators, and writers.

Abdulrahman Alsoliman in front of his painting at Misk Art Institute’s Space: A Tale exhibition, Riyadh, 2019
(© Abdulrahman Alsoliman’s personal archive images)

For Alsoliman, the book will capture his painterly response, and focus on the fundamental abstract signs and symbols in his work. Featured contributions include Roxane Zand (Founder, ZandFineArts), Farouk Yousif (art critic and poet), and Zain Al Saie (curatorial assistant and education coordinator at Al Riwaq Art Space, Bahrain).

Untitled | al-Harraneya, 2005 | Charcoal on paper | 88.2 × 61.2 cm
Collection of the Adam Henein Museum, al-Harraneya
(© George Fakhry)

Henein’s will reveal a close look at aspects of his creations, viewed through a never before seen selection of charcoal works produced over the last two decades. Written pieces by Sacha Craddock (art critic, writer and curator, executive committee member of the International Association of Art Critics), Salah Bisar (art critic and award-winning author) and Nayra Zaghloul (art advisor and researcher) will provide context.

Adam Henein with Umm Kulthum sculpture pre-mould in clay, 2008
(© Adam Henein Foundation)

The next series will be on Lulwah Al Homoud (1967), whose work is on the pendulum between the spiritual and the concise, and on Iraqi painter, printmaker, lecturer, and graphic designer, Rafa Nasiri (1940-2013), whose art was derived from nature and was often mixed with Arabic calligraphy.

Mona Khazindar

Mona Khazindar, deputy for Cultural Assets and Centers at the Saudi Ministry of Culture, and former director-general of the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris will helm the collection. The first two pieces of the series will be available starting at the end of June 2021.

“The Art Library was born out of an idea to document the work of Saudi and Arab artists, and to enrich local creative content, which forms the core of Misk Art Institute’s objectives. We recognize that there is a dearth of publications on regional artists, and part of our focus is to cultivate a culture of awareness, encourage more documentation in art and culture and pay tribute to artists,” says Reem Al-Sultan, CEO of Misk Art Institute.

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