Samia Halaby

Samia Halaby

"Inner Flower," 2001
Silkscreen monotype
20" x 30"
Edition: 1/1
Courtesy of the artist
Estivated value: $3000
Starting bid: $1500

Born in Jerusalem, Samia A. Halaby, as a child with her family, departed Palestine for a few days of respite from Israeli oppression, but lost all their possessions when they were denied their right to return to their home and places of work.   After living in Beirut for over three years, Halaby emigrated to the United States as a teenager with her family.  She graduated from Indiana University with a Master of Fine Arts in painting in 1963, and began teaching.  Halaby spent 10 years as professor of art at the Yale School of Art. 

Samia Halaby has produced a body of work which spans four decades.  Her painting theories are based on history and on radical invention in art.  She respects the Constructivist, the Cubists, the Futurists, and the Abstract Expressionists as the most advance thinkers of the 20th century. 

Building on abstraction and its relationship to nature and reality, Halaby focused on a variety of subject.  She makes analytically abstract paintings that reflected the cacophony of present reality.  The themes narrate the motion and speed of our environment.  They help us to understand the signals of pleasure and danger of a city. 

At first her work was sharp and hard edged.  Later work reflects an interest in soft space and are abstract impressions of motion.  The sources in nature of this new painterly work is the space created by large groups of similar items which move.  She sees the rhythm of such motion in groups of people or herds of animals or the leaves and branches of trees and even in the waves of the ocean. 

Palestine as subject matter enters into her abstract artwork as well as her politically explicit art.  Her most recent work is inspired by the textures of Palestine.  Her maturing forms have taken her to painting in acrylic on canvas without a stretcher.  They are cut and stitched shapes which hang in groups together on the wall.

In parallel with oil and acrylic paintings, Halaby began, in 1985, to test her ideas in electronic media.  She programs kinetic computer paintings and performs them live with musicians.  Together they are the Kinetic Painting Group and they produced a video of abstract motion and percussive sound.  She has performed her computer paintings with musicians at electronic symposia, at universities, and many other places including The Lincoln Center for The Performing Arts.   She also has a virtual studio on the Web --

During her many recent visits to Palestine, she worked in collaboration with Beirzeit University and other NGO’s as a teacher and visiting artist.  In this connection she developed a documentary of drawings and essays on the Kafr Qasem massacre of 1956.  Halaby has published a book on the “Art of Palestinian Liberation” for which she interviewed 46 artists living in Amman, Beirut, Damascus, Ghazze, Haifa, al-Jaleel (Galilee), the West Bank, and Yafa.

Halaby’s work has been exhibited internationally and is in numerous museums.  She is the first artist to have been invited to participate in the Havana Biennial from North America.  A book dedicated to her art has been published by Fine Arts Publishing of Beirut.

Inner Flower
Inner Flower
Alwan Auction 2016

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