SMA to organise Lebanese artist Aref El Rayess' exhibition

February 23, 2022 / 7:00 PM
Sharjah24: Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA) and Sharjah Art Foundation are pleased to announce organising the first major institutional exhibition to date of prolific Lebanese artist Aref El Rayess (1928–2005).
Taking place from 26th of February to 7th of August 2022 at Sharjah Art Museum, the exhibition presents more than five decades of work, including an extensive selection of paintings, drawings, sculptures and collages that together reveal the rich and complex artistic practice of this important Arab modernist.
In the late 1940s through the 1950s, El Rayess’ travels in West Africa, specifically Senegal, were key influences on his early work as seen in the numerous portraits displayed in this exhibition.  
Throughout his long career, El Rayess moved through varied stages and styles in his work. A deeply political artist, the strength of his conviction is seen in the 1960s paintings from his time in Italy that decry the brutality of the Algerian War of Independence. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in his ‘Blood and Freedom’ series painted shortly after the Arab defeat in the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War of June 1967. 
A selection of works from this series is included in the exhibition along with later work from the 1970s and large-scale collages from the 1990s that demonstrate the artist’s ongoing concern with the political, social and cultural conditions of the Arab world.
From the time of his return to Lebanon in 1967, the artist was an active member of the politically and intellectually engaged Lebanese art community, teaching, writing, organizing and participating in conferences and exhibitions on politics and arts in the Arab World.

The exhibition which is organized by Sharjah Art Foundation and Sharjah Museums Authority, comes with support from the Aref El Rayess Foundation and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut/Hamburg.
February 23, 2022 / 7:00 PM

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