top of page
  • Writer's picturePARLIAMENT NEWS

Christie’s Presents the Pinnacle of Arab Art in London

By Alex Bez - Parliamentary Society Press Office

Christie's London;Installation view of Kawkaba: Highlights from the Barjeel Art Foundation at Christie’s in London. Left to right: Samia Osseiran Jumblatt (Lebanon, b. 1944), Formative Radiation, 1970; Menhat Helmy (Egypt, 1925-2004), Space Exploration/Universe, 1973; Mohamed Melehi (Morocco, 1936-2020), Untitled, 1975; Hussein Shariffe (Sudan, 1934-2005), Big Red, 1958. Courtesy of Barjeel Art Foundation. Photo: Amir Hazim

On the 21st of August, in a private tour, art enthusiasts, critics, and connoisseurs had the privilege of experiencing the rich tapestry of Arab art at Christie’s London, with the comprehensive and informative guidance of Samia Kayyali, Cataloguer for Modern & Contemporary Middle Eastern Art. The exhibition, meticulously curated by Dr. Ridha Moumni, Deputy Chairman of Christie’s Middle East and North Africa, is a testament to the enduring spirit and creativity of Arab artists.

Marwan (Syria, 1934-2016), Head, 1975-76

Exhibition Highlights:

Kawkaba: Highlights from the Barjeel Art Foundation

Translated as 'constellation' in Arabic, Kawkaba is a loan exhibition featuring 100 masterpieces from the Barjeel Art Foundation, established in 2010 by Sultan Soud Al Qassemi. This section pays homage to the diverse artistic voices from the Middle East and North Africa. It offers a balanced representation of gender, ensuring that both celebrated and underrepresented artists find their rightful place in the spotlight.

Ibrahim El-Salahi (Sudan, b. 1930), The Last Sound, 1964

SHAKIR HASSAN AL SAID (1925, SAMAWAH - 2004, BAGHDAD) Al-Muntassirun (The Victorious)

Emirati Art Reimagined: Hassan Sharif and the Contemporary Voices

This section is dedicated to the pioneering Emirati artist Hassan Sharif, who introduced conceptual art to the region. Showcasing a vast collection of his works, from paintings and sculptures to textile-based creations, this section also features contemporary Emirati artists, emphasizing the enduring influence Sharif has had on the Emirati art scene.

Installation view of Kawkaba: Highlights from the Barjeel Art Foundation. Centre, Kadhim Hayder (Iraq, 1932-1985), Fatigued Ten Horses Converse with Nothing, 1965. Right, Hakim Al Akel (Yemen, b. 1965), Symbolic History of Arab Joy (Arabia Felix), 1994. Courtesy of Barjeel Art Foundation. Photo: Amir Hazim

A Glimpse into Christie’s Middle East

Under the leadership of Dr. Ridha Moumni and Meagan Kelly Horsman, Managing Director, Christie’s Middle East has become a global hub for exceptional art and luxury items. Since its inaugural auction in Dubai in 2006, Christie’s has built a robust presence in the region, offering a plethora of online auctions, private sales, viewings, and exhibitions. The current exhibition, organized in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and Youth, UAE, and the Barjeel Art Foundation, UAE, invites visitors to embark on an artistic and cultural journey into the Arab world.

About the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Culture and Youth

The Ministry of Culture and Youth (MCY) is dedicated to enriching the cultural ecosystem of the UAE. By supporting the country’s cultural, art, and heritage institutions, MCY provides a platform for artists and innovators, fostering cross-cultural dialogue and delivering dynamic productions that represent the UAE’s rich and eclectic culture on both national and international levels. As a key component of the National Creative Relief Program, MCY acquired artwork from Emirati artists, encouraging them to continue their artistic endeavors and urging local galleries to represent Emirati artists. Currently, MCY supports 8 galleries and 24 Emirati artists with 51 works. These artworks, reflecting the UAE's rich cultural heritage, are intended for display at various cultural venues.

Voices from the Exhibition

Dr. Ridha Moumni

Dr. Ridha Moumni, the exhibition's curator, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “Modern and Contemporary Art of the region is a unique opportunity to bring together masterpieces by leading artists of the Arab World. The exhibition not only celebrates high-profile artists such as Hassan Sharif but shines a light on the unparalleled creativity, diversity, and rich histories of North African and West Asian cultures. Christie’s is honoured to partner with two prestigious cultural institutions, the Barjeel Art Foundation and The Ministry of Culture and Youth, United Arab Emirates, for what will be an exceptional moment for the arts and culture of the Arab World in London this summer.”

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, Founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, Founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, added, “The exhibition is a rare opportunity to view in person a selection of artworks from some of the most prominent artists from West Asia and North Africa that have been collected over 20 years. The vast majority of the artworks in the exhibition have never been seen in the U.K. before. The works include a gender-balanced selection which allows for visitors to appreciate the role that modern women artists played in the establishment of a flourishing Modern art movement in the region. Barjeel Art Foundation is especially proud to be collaborating with Christie's on this unique exhibition from whom many of these works have been collected over the years.”



bottom of page