About the Book
Arabicity reflects on four decades of the aesthetic, conceptual, and socio-political concerns of contemporary Arab artists. Beautifully produced, it features over 200 artworks by 50 Arab artists including Bahia Shehab, Ayman Baalbaki, Hassan Hajjaj, and Raeda Saadeh, who explore their cultural heritage, and themes such as memory, destruction, and conflict, with great warmth, humour and visual poetry.
Whether through video art, painting, photography or installation, these artists challenge the confines of their identity, resist stereotyping, and reshape the parameters of their cultural traditions. In their diverse media and subject matter, their works reflect the pulse of the region. In chaos they discover what endures.
About the Book
Her website is www[dot]roseissa[dot]com.Etel Adnan was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1925. She studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, U.C. Berkeley, and at Harvard, and taught at Dominican College in San Rafael, California, from 1958–1972. In solidarity with the Algerian War of Independence (1954–1962), Adnan began to resist the political implications of writing in French and became a painter. Then, through her participation in the movement against the Vietnam War (1959–1975), she began to write poetry and became, in her words, “an American poet.” In 1972, she returned to Beirut and worked as cultural editor for two daily newspapers—first for Al Safa, then for L’Orient le Jour. Her novel Sitt Marie-Rose, published in Paris in 1977, won the France-Pays Arabes award and has been translated into more than ten languages. In 1977, Adnan re-established herself in California, making Sausalito her home, with frequent stays in Paris. Adnan is the author of more than a dozen books in English, including Journey to Mount Tamalpais (1986) The Arab Apocalypse (1989), In the Heart of the Heart of Another Country (2005), and Sea and Fog (2012), winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry and the California Book Award for Poetry. In 2014, she was awarded one of France’s highest cultural honors: l’Ordre de Chevalier des Arts et Lettres. Many of her poems have been put to music by Tania Leon, Henry Treadgill, Gavin Bryars, Zad Moultaka, Annea Lockwood, and Bun Ching Lam. Her paintings have been widely exhibited, including Documenta 13, the 2014 Whitney Biennial, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, The New Museum, and Museum der Moderne Salzburg. In 2014, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art mounted a retrospective of her work.
Maliheh Afnan was born in 1935 to Persian parents in Haifa, Palestine. Her family moved to Beirut, where she went to high school and later graduated with a BA from the American University of Beirut in 1955. In 1956 she moved to Washington DC, where she graduated with an MA in Fine Arts at the Corcoran School of Art (1962). She spent 23 years in Paris, where she had numerous exhibitions, before settling in London in 1997, where she lived until 2016. Afnan has had several solo shows, including "Speak Memory" (curated by Lutz Becker) and Rose Issa Projects (2013). She has participated in numerous group exhibitions around the world and her work is in several public collections, including The Metropolitan Museum, New York; The British Museum, London; and the Institut du Monde Arabe, Akkram Ojjeh Foundation and BAII Bank Collection, all in Paris. She has also featured in several publications, most recently Familiar Faces (2013, Rose Issa Projects) and Maliheh Afnan: Traces, Faces, Places (2010, Saqi Books & Beyond Art Productions).
Chant Avedissian studied Fine Arts in Montreal and print-making at the Ecole National Superieure des Arts Decoratifs, Paris. He returned to Cairo in 1980 and worked with Hassan Fathy from 1981–89. His work is part of the public collection at the British Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the Tropenmuseum (Amsterdam), the National Museum of Scotland and the National Gallery of Jordan. His publications include Cairo Stencils and Patterns, Costumes & Stencils.
Ayman Baalbaki was born in 1975 in Odeissé, Lebanon. He studied Fine Arts in Beirut and at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Decoratifs, Paris. He has exhibited extensively in Beirut and Paris, and in a solo show at Rosa Issa, London, in 2009. His publications include Ayman Baalbaki: Beirut Again and Again. He lives and works in Beirut.
British Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj, the “Andy Warhol of Marrakech” (CNN), has established an international following for his photography. His most recent solo shows include ‘My Rock Stars’ at the Newark Museum, USA (2015) and ‘Kesh Angels’, Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York (2014). His work features in several collections worldwide, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; and the Brooklyn Museum, New York. Hajjaj shot the photograph of Cardi B for the cover of New York magazine in November 2017. His publications include Hassan Hajjaj: Photography, Fashion, Film, Design.
Bahia Shehab is an award-winning artist, art historian and scholar of Arabic script based in Cairo. Her street art has been on display in museums, galleries and streets around the world, and was featured in the 2015 documentary Nefertiti’s Daughters. She is the recipient of many awards and international recognitions, including the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture (2017), Prince Claus Fund Award (2016), TED Senior fellowship (2016) and BBC 100 Women list (2014). Shehab is associate professor of design and founder of the graphic design program at the American University in Cairo. Her publications include A Thousand Times NO: The Visual History of Lam-Alif.
Photographer, installation and performance artist Raeda Saadeh was born in 1977 in Umm Al-Fahem, Palestine. She received her BFA and MFA from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, and spent one year as an exchange student at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Fonds Regional d’Art Contemporain de Lorraine, Metz, France; and Magasin – Centre National d’Art Contemporain de Grenoble, France. She has been awarded the bronze Chimera at ICASTICA the first International Arezzo Biennial of Art (2013); and the “Young Artist of the Year” prize by the AM Qattan Foundation, Ramallah (200). Her publications include Reframing Palestine.
Mona Hatoum was born in Beirut, to a Palestinian family. She attended Beirut University College, and came to Britain as a student in the mid-1970s. Throughout the 1980s, she held a number of artist's residencies in Britain, Canada and the United States. Until 1988 Hatoum worked mainly with video and performance. Since 1989 she has concentrated on making installations, notably Light Sentence. She has had solo exhibitions at the Chapter Gallery, Cardiff, the Arnolfini, Bristol and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, as well as at a number of venues across Canada. In 1995 she was shortlisted for the Turner Prize at the Tate Gallery. Her publications include Mona Hatoum: Terra Infirma. She lives in London.