Palestinian painter Samia Halaby is widely recognised as a major innovator of the school of abstraction in contemporary Arab art. From large canvases exploring the colour planes of geometric and helix formations to abstract assemblages that pulse with movement, her practice is one of radical experimentation and creative urgency. Recent works examine the angular perspective of architecture alongside textures and variances found in nature, combining things that create pliable space with things created from hard surfaces. Large brushstrokes slash the picture plane creating openings through which light streams through, whilst jagged angle and painterly markings appear to leap across and escape from the two dimensional surface of the canvas.
Born in Jerusalem in 1936, Samia Halaby lives and works in New York. She has taught widely at institutions including the Yale School of Art in New Haven, Connecticut; Birzeit University, Palestine and Darat al-Funun in Amman, Jordan. Halaby’s work is housed in numerous international museum collections including The British Museum, London; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Institute du Monde Arab, Paris; Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts; The Art Institute of Chicago; and The Detroit Institute of Art. She is the author of Liberation Art of Palestine (2002). In 1983 she created a computer program for kinetic paintings which resulted in several audio-visual presentations including a tour of Syria, Palestine, and Jordan and a performance accompanied by live musicians at New York’s Lincoln Center in 1998.
Selected solo shows include Ayyam Gallery DIFC, Dubai (2011); Ayyam Gallery Beirut (2010); Ayyam Gallery Damascus (2008); Tompkins County Public Library, Ithaca, New York (2006); Sakakini Art Center, Ramallah, Palestine (2000). Selected group shows include Williamsburg Art & Historical Center, Brooklyn, NY (2009); Institut Du Monde Arab, Paris (2009); Clinton Foundation, Little Rock (2008; Wahcenter, Brooklyn (2007); Metropolitan Museum of Tokyo (2004).