As the future will show, Saloua Raouda Choucair’s extensive exhibition at the Tate Modern will mark a highly significant point in Middle Eastern art history. Now well into her nineties, Choucair has been one of Lebanon’s hidden gems for far too long. The beauty and power in this show, is it finally gives Choucair the global attention she deserves! It is a significant show, not just for its fantastic content, but also because this exhibition is the first by a Middle Eastern artist at the Tate!
(c) J Fernandes, Tate Photography
(c) J Fernandes, Tate Photograph
I have by now been to the Choucair exhibition three times in just over a week. It is a show that keeps me coming back, keeps me wanting to dive further and further into the artist’s works. I was lucky enough to take part in a group tour led by the Tate’s International art curator, Jessica Morgan. Ms. Morgan explained how she first came across Choucair’s work at Agial Art Gallery in Beirut, and from there enquired further about the artist. After visiting her home in Beirut, Morgan found many of Choucair’s works all across her apartment. Morgan found it essential to provide an international platform for Choucair to be appreciated. Morgan wants to highlight Choucair’s position as a significant global artist.
Choucair, a pioneering abstract artist, was born in 1916. While Choucair is perhaps best known for her wonderful sculptures, she has worked with many mediums. Her inspirations are derived from Islamic art, geometry, and science.
As mentioned on the Tate’s website:
“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. “
To put the significance of Choucair’s show into perspective, the other major exhibition taking place at the Tate at the same was the Lichtenstein show! One could buy a double ticket granting access to both!
photo credit: Abdullah Al Turki
This is a must see show for all those in London, and will be on until Oct. 20, 2013.
Check out this Video about the organization of the exhibition:
Check out this link for more information on the show: