Under the patronage of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, on Wednesday inaugurated “Lasting Impressions: Baya Mahieddine”, the first solo exhibition in the region for Algeria’s pioneering artist.

Organized by the Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA), Baya’s retrospective is the 11th edition of the “Lasting Impressions" exhibition series at Sharjah Art Museum, which aims to spark inspiration by introducing works of prominent artists from the Arab world and their contributions to art in the region.

Attending the opening ceremony were Sheikha Nawar Al Qassimi, Vice President of Sharjah Art Foundation; Noora Al Mualla, Director of learning and research at Sharjah Art Foundation; Manal Ataya, Director-General of SMA; Aisha Rashid Deemas, Director of Executive Affairs at SMA; and Nasir Al Darmaki, Museums Strategic Planning Department Manager at SMA; with co-curators Alya Al Mulla and Suheyla Takesh

Running until July 31, the five-month exhibition features more than 70 original works spanning Baya’s career of over six decades, including paintings that were displayed at her first exhibition in Paris in 1947.

 Baya’s life through paintings across 16 halls

Drawing inspiration from cultural traditions and environmental surroundings, coupled with her unique creative sensibilities, the pioneering late Algerian artist Baya created dreamlike compositions, largely dominated by female characters. 

Her impressive paintings are showcased across 16 halls at Sharjah Art Museum, where the first hall takes visitors on a spectacular journey through Baya’s life from her early beginnings until her death. 

Manal Ataya, Director General of SMA, said: “We are truly honored to be the first institution in the region to highlight the creative works of the late Algerian artist Baya Mahieddine in this solo exhibition of this scale celebrating her splendid works along with her rich artistic legacy and the lasting impression she had left on the global art scene.”

The “Lasting Impressions” exhibition affirms that honoring artists and their creative practices is a duty that exemplifies the appreciation of their contributions to Arab modern art history,” the SMA Director General stressed.

She underlined the human-centered approach adopted by the Emirate of Sharjah to deepen the values of respect and peace among people, positioning itself as an artistic and cultural enlightenment centre and a source of inspiration in the region,”

Ataya went on to say: “Art will remain a key and rich component of human culture and an inexhaustible medium by which to record one’s perspectives and voices on our society today.

Generously loaned to the Sharjah Art Museum by private collectors and various institutions from the UAE and beyond, including Galerie Maeght, which presented Baya's first solo exhibition in Paris in 1947.

A collection of Baya’s exquisite paintings was also loaned by the Sharjah Art Foundation, Barjeel Art Foundation, Lebanon-based Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation, Tunisia’s Kamel Lazaar Foundation and Elmarsa Gallery in Dubai and Tunisia.

The artist’s family also loaned to the museum one of her last works that she had completed, before she passed away. 

Baya Mahieddine —known simply as Baya— was one of Algeria’s most prolific modernist artists.

With a career spanning nearly six decades, she became pivotal to the formation of a distinct North African modernism in the arts, as she succeeded in establishing the so-called primitive art, a new Algerian and Arab fine art school. 

Baya was also linked to international postwar movements, like Surrealism and Art Brut. Drawing inspiration from Amazigh, Arab, Islamic and European artistic traditions, coupled with her own unique creative sensibilities, she was born Fatma Haddad but gained international acclaim as Baya.

Hosted by the Sharjah Art Museum, Lasting Impressions is the first solo exhibition to be held in the Arab world, outside Algeria that brings together Baya’s works of this size in commemoration of one of Algeria’s most acclaimed artists.

The exhibition is expected to bring together a selection of local, Arab and international artists, as well as lovers of fine art and audiences who are interested in learning about Baya’s six-decade long journey through her creative paintings.

On the fringe of the exhibition, SMA is organizing a panel discussion titled “Women’s Representation in Art” on the occasion of the International Women's Day, at 7pm on March 8. Chaired by Manal Ataya, the session will see the participation of a number of female art experts from inside and outside the country to highlight the important contributions of Arab female artists to the art scene. 

Source: Elite Media