Tate Modern hosts the world’s first major museum exhibition of Lebanese artist Saloua Raouda Choucair celebrates this remarkable artist’s extraordinary body of work.
Choucair is a pioneer of abstract art in the Middle East and, born in 1916, takes her rightful position as a significant figure in the history of twentieth-century art.
Through painting and drawing, architecture, textiles and jewellery, as well as, of course, her prolific and experimental sculptures, visitors can discover how Choucair worked in diverse media pursuing her interests in science, mathematics and Islamic art and poetry. Many of the works, made over a period of five decades, have not previously been seen outside of Lebanon.
A rare female voice in the Beirut art scene from the 1940s onwards, Choucair’s work combines elements of western abstraction with Islamic aesthetics. It is characterised by an experimental approach to materials alongside an elegant use of modular forms, lines and curves drawn from the traditions of Islamic design.
The exhibition focuses on Choucair’s sculptures from the 1950s to the 1980s, created in wood, metal, stone and fibreglass, as well as extensive examples of her early abstract paintings and some key figurative works such as Self-Portrait 1943 and Paris-Beirut 1948.
She started painting in the studios of Lebanese painters Moustafa Farroukh and Omar Onsi. Her exhibition in 1947 at the Arab Cultural Gallery in Beirut is considered to have been the Arab world’s first abstract painting exhibition. In 1948 she left Lebanon and went to Paris, where she studied at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts and attended Fernand Léger’s studio. In 1950, she was one of the first Arab artists to participate in the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles in Paris and had in 1951 a solo exhibition at Colette Allendy’s gallery, which was better received in Paris than in Beirut – wikipedia
Article NYTimes: Just in Time, a Lebanese Artist’s Work Is Shown at Tate Modern
Saloua Raouda Choucair’s art works were exhibited in Kuwait at CAP: Exhibition TAJREED – Arab Abstract Art