A World in Evolution: The Art of the Arab World from the 19th Century up to Now

2 May '19 at 6:00 pm - 23 May '19 at 8:00 pm

In this introductory course on the art of the Arab World we will explore the schools, the movements and the artistic practices that have characterised the period between the 19th century and the present.

We will investigate the major and most acclaimed artistic personalities against the historical background of their countries, the links with traditional Islamic art and the role of calligraphy. We will also examine the impact of European art and the development of innovative artistic movements, like, for instance, Egyptian Surrealism, the Iraqi Baghdad School and the Moroccan Casablanca Group and finally we will discuss the establishment of artistic Salons, galleries and museums.

The course will be organised in three modules. Each module will focus on a different macro-region (North Africa and Egypt; The Levant; Iraq and the Gulf countries). The modules will run independently in order to give the opportunity to those interested in a specific area to enrol just to the corresponding module. Those who enrol to the three modules instead will have the opportunity to cover the entire area. The first course will focus on North Africa and Egypt. The following two on the Levant, and Iraq and the Gulf Countries, will run in 2019.

Image: Dia al-Azzawi from Mathaf the Museum of Modern Art in Qatar

Landscape, 2016
Acrylic on paper, 150 x 820 cm (triptych), detail

© Anthony Dawton


Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Dates: 15 November '18 | 21 November '18 | 22 November '18 | 29 November '18

Module 1 will focus on the leading movements, schools and artists of North Africa, journeying from Morocco to Sudan, via Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. A wide array of artists and styles from the 19th Century until the present day will be covered, along with the historical and political contexts that surrounds them.

You will explore the life and work of leading artists like Egyptian activist, feminist, and surrealist painter Inji Efflatoun; Rachid Korïchi, from Algeria, whose work is characterised by the use of Arabic calligraphy and magic and mystical symbols; and Sudanese art pioneer Ibrahim el-Salihi, co-founder of the Khartoum School.

For a more extensive look at what will be covered in the course, please see below:

  • Morocco and Tunisia

The Art Salons
The Tunis School
Abstract art
Famous French artists in North Africa
The Casablanca School
Hassan Hajjaj (b.1961)
Lalla Essaydi (b.1956)

  • Algeria and Libya

Orientalist art
Folk art
Naive art
the axe Algier-Paris
Baya (1931-1998)
Mohammed Khadda (1930-1991)
M’hamed Issiakhem (1928-1985)
Rachid Koraichi (b.1947)
Graffiti artists

  • Class 3 Egypt

The Pioneers
Cairo School of Fine Arts
Women artists
Weinli brothers (Seif 1906-1979, Adham 1908-1959)

  • Class 4 Egypt and Sudan

Contemporary Egyptian artists
Old and New Khartoum Schools
School of the One
Osman Waqialla (1925-2007)
Ibrahim al-Salahi (b.1930)


Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Dates: 14 March '19 | 21 March '19 | 28 March '19 | 4 April '19

  • Class 1 Syria

First and second generations of Pioneers
The Art Group
The Arab Society of Fine Arts
Louai Kayali (1934-78)
Fateh Mudarres (1922-1999)
Marwan (1934-2016)
Sabhan Adam (b.1972)
Anonymous Collective of Syrian artists known under the name The Syrian people know their way

  • Class 2 Lebanon

Beirut as a centre of modern and contemporary art in the Arab World both in the present and the past
Saliba Douaihy (1915-1994)
Chafic Abboud (1926- 2004)
Civil war and artists’ diaspora
Paul Guiragossian (1926-1993)
Ayman Baalbaki (b.1975)

  • Class 3 Palestine

Jamal Badran (1909-1999)
Artists from the diaspora
Ismail Shammout (1930-2006)
Kamal Boullata (b.1942)
Art and politics
Suleyman Mansour (b.1947)
Laila Shawa (b.1940)
Mona Hatoum (b.1952)

  • Class 4 Jordan

Foreign artists who lived and worked in Jordan
The Arab Club
Mahmoud Taha (b.1942)
Rafik Lahham (b.1932)
Muhanna Durra (b.1938)
Fahrelnissa Zeid (1901-99)

Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Dates: 2 May '19 | 9 May '19 | 16 May '19 | 23 May '19

Main themes discussed in Course 3 Iraq and the Gulf

CLASS 1 Iraq – Pioneers: Jawad Salim, Faik Hassan, Hafid Drubi; Primitive School, Baghdad Modern Art Group, The Impressionists; New Vision Dia al-Azzawi; Art at the service of the State, Saddam Hussein portraits; Suad al-Attar; Wafaa Bilal; Adel Abidin; Hayv Kahraman

CLASS 2 Saudi Arabia – Society for culture and arts, House of Saudi Art; Faisal Samra; Samiah Khashoggi; Manal Al Dowayan; Ahmet Mater; Ahaad Alamoudi; Censorship and art

Yemen – Pioneers: Ali Awad Ghaddaf, Fuad al-Futaih; Expressionism, Amin Nasher, Mazhar Nizar, Yasin Ghaleb; Alia Ali; Boushra Almutakawel; street art in Sana’a

CLASS 3 United Arab Emirates – Visual poetry, Hassan Sharif; Maitha Demithan; the development of Dubai and Abu Dhabi as hubs for contemporary art

Kuwait – Free Atelier of Fine Arts; Surrealism, Sami Mohammed, Hameed Khazaal; Mojeb al-Dousari; Circulism, Khalifa al-Qattan; Tarek al Ghoussein

CLASS 4 Qatar – Surrealism, Hassan al-Mulla, Yussef Ahmad; Abstract art, Ali Hassan Jaber, Yussef Ahmad; Mathaf, Museum of Modern Art

Bahrain – Bahrain Art Society; Abstract art, Balqees Fakhro, Abdel Latif Mufiz; Calligraphic art, Badie al Sheik, Abdul Elah al-Arab

Roberta Marin on how she became interested in art from the Arab world and how her career developed from there.

After my BA, I had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Middle East and I became fascinated by the rich culture of the countries I visited. I enjoyed losing myself in the souks, wandering inside the major mosques and madrasas in Cairo, Istanbul, Marrakesh and absorbing a new vocabulary of patterns and motifs. I was inspired to do an MA in Art and Archaeology with a focus on Islamic Art and Architecture at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). It was an exciting year!

I met excellent lecturers who were a source of inspiration and thanks to a scholarship by Ralph Pinder-Wilson, I had the financial support to do fieldwork for my MA thesis in Cairo. Following my MA, I worked at the Asian Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, collaborated with the Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, and I  taught at various public institutions, such as the Birkbeck College, the London College of Communication, SOAS, Asia House and the University of York. The interest I developed in Islamic art and architecture during my travels and the year as MA student at SOAS have changed my life and I have to admit that they have been the best things that could have ever happened to me!

How many students will be in each class? There will be a maximum of 15 students in each class.

How will the course be taught?

Teaching in the classroom will be supported by richly illustrated PowerPoint presentations.

Can I book a place and pay later?

No, your place on the course will only be confirmed on receipt of the course fee in full.

How can I sign up to a class?

To sign up to a course, you need to book online on the website section ‘COURSES’. You can find information about our current Islamic Art courses and book online above

What methods of payment do you accept?

Please use our online booking system (Go to ‘COURSES’ on the main menu of our website, select the course you are interested in and click ‘BOOK NOW’) to secure a seat on a course. You will need a debit or credit card to make a payment. Seats are reserved on a first come first serve basis.

What is your refund policy?

Our courses are often over-subscribed so the sooner you let us know you’ve changed your mind the better. We can then open your place up to someone else. Our rules on refunds are:

  • 75% of the course fee will be refunded if you let us know more than 30 days before the course start date.
  • 50% of the course fee will be refunded if you let us know within 10 – 30 days before the course start date.
  • No refund will be given if you let us know fewer than 10 days before the course start date.

What happens if you cancel the course?

We will endeavour to ensure courses are not cancelled but if this does happen we will contact you as quickly as we can to let you know and to arrange a full refund.

Please contact us if you have any further questions on 020 78321310 or info@arabbritishcentre.org.uk


The Arab British Centre

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