Technologies et revolution (1968)

Technologies et revolution
From "Blood and freedom"
Oil on canvas
139 x 200 cm
Courtesy of the Aref El Rayess estate and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut / Hamburg


More than five decades of work by the prolific Lebanese artist Aref El Rayess (1928 – 2005) is presented in the artist’s first major institutional exhibition to date. The exhibition includes a wide range of painting, drawing, sculpture and collage that together reveal the rich and complex artistic practice of this important Arab modernist.

A restless traveller, El Rayess’s oeuvre often reflects the places and times in which he lived and worked. From the early influences of his years spent between Lebanon and Senegal, his travels and studies through Europe and the United States, through his return to the Arab world, the artist captured the essence of the world around him in a body of work that is anchored in his deep inner-self. While much of his work reflects the political struggles of his time—the Algerian War of Independence, the Lebanese civil war—the artist was also an active member of the engaged Lebanese art community, teaching, writing, organising and participating in conferences and exhibitions on politics and arts in the Arab World.

Organised by Sharjah Art Foundation and Sharjah Museums Authority with the support of the Aref El Rayess Foundation and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut/Hamburg.

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Practicing in several media, including tapestry, sculpture and painting, Aref El Rayess developed an interest in abstraction. He was also influenced by his travels across West Africa, which inspired him to incorporate folkloric and mystic motifs into his work.


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