Presentation of the painter Kamal Boullata

17 November 2018

Bilqis: Journeying through transparency

The work of Kamal Boullata lies at the intersection of Byzantine, Islamic and Contemporary Art. With particular pleasure, MOHA welcomed the artist at an event hosted in Imaret on Saturday, November 17th.

In Berlin, in 2013, Kamal Boullata first exhibited his series entitled Bilqis, the name of the Queen of Sheba according to the Qur’an. In his illustrated lecture at the MOHA, Boullata described not what his painting series “Bilqis” leads to, but where it comes from. By tracking down the sources of his abstract visual language, the painter extended an invitation to explore the artistic encounters between Byzantium and Islam which form the core of Boullata’s cultural heritage. He responded to the public’s interest about the course and the main stations of his life, his artistic techniques and the influences of his art.

Inspired by the Qur’anic retelling of the encounter between King Solomon and Bilqis, the series attests to how a contemporary Arab aesthetic is forged. The lecture traced the trajectory by which a vision summoned from other times discloses artistic transformations distinctive to our own.

Born in Jerusalem, Kamal Boullata studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma and the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design in Washington, D.C. He lived and worked for three years in Morocco as a Fulbright Scholar and fourteen years in Menton, France, before moving to Berlin in 2012, with his election as a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study. His work is exhibited at the British Museum, the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, the Khalid Shoman Collection, the Sharjah Art Museum, and many private collections across the world.