Works from North Africa – Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania.
Opening March 2022 at al markhiya gallery, Doha Fire Station
As part of al markhiya’s programme of exhibitions showcasing emerging and established artists from the Arab world, we begin our 2022 season with a group exhibition focusing on a collection of artists from the Maghreb region.
Maghreb carries the dual meaning of both the western place (land) and the place where the sun sets. This area has been called the land of Atlas, and the Barbary Coast; the region encompasses much of the northern part of Africa, including the Atlas Mountains and the coastal plains of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania.
The artists showcased in this exhibition explore a variety of disciplines and viewpoints; from painting, to sculpture, printmaking and photography, to collage and book making. They share different forms of inspiration, ranging from documentary and history, to experimentations in pure aesthetics and color, all of which result in the creation of rare and unique objects. For this exhibition al markhiya gallery also collaborates for the first time with East Wing, a platform for photography and member of the al markhiya group. East Wing has invited two emerging photographers from the Maghreb region to participate in the exhibition: Nada Harib from Libya and Fethi Sarharoui from Algeria.
Bios of Artists
Hamza Bounoua (Algeria)
Born in Algeria, his artistic practice is inspired by movements of colours, which he overlaps to gain space among the elements. In his compositions, Bounoua often incorporates mystical script with a thicker texture of colours resembling a type of dance. Employing earthy colours of grey, black, ochre, reds and browns combine in his compositions to symbolize life and the elements. He mixes these with white, highlighting his Algerian origins, symbolizing a country that faces the blue sea, yet mixes with the desert in a similar fashion.
Bounoua joined the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts in Algiers and was inspired by Berber, Islamic and African Art. In his work he includes letters in an abstract form, geometrical shapes and shadows of figures that are combined with the flow of colors that are soft yet powerful.
“Everything on earth is in movement, even if it seems stable to our human eyes, but in reality there is an autonomous and internal motion, a rotational evolution with the Earth and the flow of life in all creatures.”
Oumar Ball (Mauritania)
Born in Bababé, Mauritania Oumar Ball is a painter, sculptor and Illustrator. His work reflect his long heritage in the region, growing up on the edge of the river that marks the border between Mauritania and Senegal, the Fouta Tooro. He spent my childhood in the village of Bababé the land where his parents and grandparents were born. The riverside was a bustling world: small boats called pirogues, pass from one bank to the other, women work in houses and courtyards, men move between home and the fields where they work. Children spend their days in groups, and animals live both around and with the community.
Ball was influenced by his father, a painter and photographer taught him the magic of image making in the darkroom and in making playful things. His upbringing not only forged him but became the foundation of his inspiration; animals are often appear as the main subject in his compositions. Ball finds pleasure in what he finds in his village, everything from spotted metal scraps, flattened wires, inspiring cardboards, and colorful plastics. The goats, horses, birds, and carts that populated his village became the raw materials for toys he made for others and his own compositions. “Objects, animals, humans are the actors of this theater that I set into play in a story that is a metaphor of life.”
Mahi Binebine (Morocco)
Born in Marrakech in 1959, Binebine moved to Paris to continue his studies in mathematics and taught this subject for eight years, before devoting himself to writing, painting and, more recently, sculpture. He has written several novels, which have been translated into a dozen languages.
Binebine emigrated to New York from 1994 to 1999. His paintings are part of the permanent collection at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. He returned to Marrakech in 2002 where he currently lives and works.
Nada Harib (Libya) is a freelance photographer based in Tripoli, Libya, who works on long-term documentary projects concerned with contemporary issues. Harib is a contributor to the popular social media platforms, @EverydayAfrica and @EverydayMiddleEast.
Harib’s work has been included in group exhibitions both locally and internationally including; Kigali Photo Centre / Rwanda, The Institut du Monde Arabe / Paris, The PhotoVogue Festival / Milan and Tropen Museum / Amsterdam. As a member of African Photojournalism Database (APJD), images from her ongoing project about women’s traditions in rural Libya titled, Women of Libya were featured in the thirteenth edition of, Four to Follow, Sharing Stories across the African Continent by the Witness Programme at World Press Photo.
Harib’s photographs have been published by Reuters, CBS News, Getty Images, the World Health Organisation, Washington Post, the New Humanitarian and many others. She has also received project support from the Arab Documentary Photography Program (ADPP) an initiative of the Magnum Foundation, and additionally from The Prince Claus Fund and the Arab Fund for the Arts and Culture. Nada is also a member of Women Photograph and has contributed to the project, Amplifying Student Voices – Photographing Life in the Time of the Pandemic, developed by the VII Academy. al markihiya gallery is honoured to premiere her series in progress, “Women of Libya” in Doha as part of this exhibition.
Halim Karabibene (Tunisia)
The dreamlike and sarcastic paintings, masterfully executed by Karabibene, lead us into his hybrid universe and playfully “staged” in a dreamlike manner with a whole range of mythical characters. Before referring to Western art, Karabibene is mainly inspired by the local figurative tradition, which is found in the Roman mosaics of the Bardo museum, and popular painting under glass in Tunisia.
Since 2007, Karabibene has also pursued a conceptual and multidisciplinary artistic practice, in which he wanted encourage the public authorities to inaugurate the first Tunisian National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MNAMC) in Tunisia. With a pressure cooker as the symbol and shape of the future Museum. Karabibene uses social networks, events and exhibitions to effectively launch this fiction of the museum until it comes into being.
Karabibene studied architecture and attended the National School of Fine Arts in Paris.
His work has been exhibited widely in private institutions and museums around the world, notably at the ifa gallery in Berlin, Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, Barjeel Foundation in Sharjah, Kamel Lazaar Foundation, Museo Vittoriano in Rome, the Algiers Museum of Modern Art, Zoom Art fair Miami USA, Museo Pontevedra Spain, Dakar Biennale etc.
Since 2015 the artist lives and works in Berlin.
Zakaria Ramhani (Morocco)
Born in Tangiers in 1983, Ramhani was introduced to painting very early in his father’s studio. He obtained his art plastic diploma and worked as an art teacher in Morocco but gave up teaching quickly and devoted himself fully to his art.
Since 2006, Zakaria has been working on the project, From Right to Left in which he explores the relations between the art of portrait and the Arabic and Latin calligraphy. Zakaria developed a particular language where the Arab or Latin written form is used as a pictorial gesture serving the figurative. This action painting puts rhythm into the artist’s compositions and endows them with a density rarely equalled, owing to a riot of lines and multiplication of letters. The originality of his work lies in the fact that the final picture includes, in a perfect order, the profusion of the graphic sense of a line to raising them to the rank of a simple line drawn by a painter.
Zakaria has shown his work in several exhibitions including at the Arab World Institut of Paris (France), the Bahrain National Museum, and Barbican Centre of London (United Kingdom), the 8th Biennale of Dak’art (May 2008), where he represented his country; Word Into Art , organized by the British Museum of London at the International Financial Centre of Dubai. Intermoenia Extrart, Barletta , Italy (under the direction of Achille Bonito Oliva ). In December 2008, Zakaria was invited to the 11th Cairo Biennale In Egypt. His work can be found in prestigious art collections such as the Vanhaerent art collection in Brussels Belgium,Museum of Contemporary African Art (MACAAL), Marrakesh Morocco Bank Al Maghrib Museum (Morocco), Jean-Paul Blachère’s Foundation (France) the Barjeel Foundation (UAE), Alain Dominique Perrin (Cartier-France Foundation), and the Olympic Chinese committee in China.
Zakaria Ramhani’s works have been featured in publications and newspapers including the New York Times, Al Arabia, CNN, and Al Jazeera. Zakaria Ramhani is represented by Tabari Artspace in Dubai, UAE and Atelier 21 in Casablanca, Morocco. He lives and works between Montreal, Canada and Tangier, Morocco.
Fethi Sahroui (Algeria)
Born in 1993, in the Southern town of Hassi R’Mel, Fethi Sahraoui is a self-taught photographer, working on the social landscape. After studying foreign languages at the university in his home town Mascara, Sahroui graduated in 2018, preparing his final project about the contribution of Black American photographers during The Civil Rights Movement.
Fethi’s work has been exhibited in different institutions including The Arab World Institute and he has published his imagery on numerous platforms including The New York Times, among many others. He is a member of the 220Collective, a family of local photographers, based inside and outside Algeria and who collaborate on a variety of ongoing projects. Sahroui is a Magnum Foundation fellow, and was also a participant in the last edition of The Joop Swart Masterclass (2020). For this exhibition we present his series, “Escaping the Heatwave”, documenting the daily escapades of a group of youth in search of relief from the heat of the summer in Algeria.
Emna Zghal (Tunisia)
A Brooklyn-based visual artist, Zghal was trained in both Tunisia and the United States and has shown her work in both countries and beyond. Reviews of her exhibits appeared on the pages of the New Yorker Magazine, The New York Times, Artform amongst other publications.
Noted public collections include: Newark Museum, Flint Institute of Art, Yale University Library, The New York Public Library, The Museum for African Art, NY, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NY.
She has received fellowships, prizes, grants, and residencies from: Creative Capital, The MacDowell Colony, Women’s Studio Workshop, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris) and others.