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Retrospective of Palestinian-American Artist Samia Halaby at Sharjah Museums Authority’s Annual “Lasting Impressions” Series

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Sharjah Museums Authority announces that its highly anticipated annual “Lasting Impressions” series will this year be dedicated to the outstanding Palestinian-American artist Samia Halaby.

This major retrospective exhibition will be held for the first time in the Emirate of Sharjah, at the Sharjah Art Museum from September 20, 2023, through January 7, 2024.

In this comprehensive exhibition, curated by Inass Yassin, over 200 of Halaby’s multifaceted works produced over six decades of creating art, spanning from abstract paintings, digital works to powerful documentary drawings, will be on view.

Works on view include Swing, 1987, Fruits and Gourds, 1994, Jabberwalkie, 1994, Spring Symmetry, 1999, Green Flamenco, 1999, and Milky Pearly in Dim Light, 1999 and all will be on loan from various collections locally and internationally, including pieces from Samia Halaby’s own studio in New York.

Born in Jerusalem, Palestine in 1936 and currently residing in New York, Halaby has left an indelible mark on the global art scene.

Her poignant journey, from experiencing exile and displacement in 1948 to advocating relentlessly for Palestinian and human rights, has been a wellspring of inspiration for her profound body of work. Of particular note is the series memorialising the Kafr Qasem Massacre, an embodiment of her dedication to her roots and the history of her people, which will also be showcased in the exhibition.

Halaby’s role in defining the language of abstraction stands as a significant achievement. Her methodical commitment, along with a rigorous approach to each stage of her exploration into abstraction, exemplifies her dedication. Her substantial input as an abstract painter has positioned her as a pioneer in the field.

Aisha Rashid Deemas, Director General of Sharjah Museums Authority, commented, “Samia Halaby’s profound influence on the global and regional art scene cannot be overstated. Her unique ability to distill complex themes into stirring abstract works has left an indelible mark on contemporary art. This exhibition is a testament to her genius and the enduring impact of her work.”

“Lasting Impressions,” since its inception in 2010, has provided a valuable platform to showcase the contributions of significant Arab artists to global art and culture.

“With Halaby’s works taking centre stage, Sharjah Museums Authority once again reaffirms its dedication to supporting and promoting distinguished artists from the Arab world and beyond,” Ms Aisha added.

Halaby’s interpretation of the exhibition’s title “Lasting Impressions” is tied to the resonant impact her work has on the general Arab art history, as well as today’s youth, especially those in the Arab world.

She said: “Sharjah Art Museum presents over sixty years of my thinking in this rare retrospective while the curator explored the processes of my thinking. Valuable scholars dialogued with me for the catalog essays.”

“To them and to the viewers I present my work not as an expression of my feelings but as a conversation of equals between my intuitive inner self observing the word and the conscious self with a scientific bent,” added the artist.
This series has previously celebrated the works of esteemed artists such as Abdulqader Al Rais, Najat Mekky, George Bahgoury, , Noor Ali Rashid, Thuraya Al Baqsami, Ismail Shammout, and Tamam El Ekhal, Baya Mahieddine, among others.

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