The exhibition of the work of self-taught Algerian artist Baya Mahieddine known as Baya comprises some 15 gouache paintings. Baya was born Fatma Haddad in 1931 in Bordj el-Kiffan near Algiers. She was highly valued by many of the leading figures of the Parisian avant-garde, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and the father of Surrealism, André Breton, who first promoted her work while she was still a teenager. The show sheds a light on Baya’s groundbreaking career as one of the key artists in modern art from North Africa within post-colonial art movements in search of new alignment with the experience and values of society and culture. With artists like M’Hamed Issiakhem (1928-1985), Abdelkader Guermaz (1919-1996), Mohammed Khadda (1930-1991), Baya is among the most important and influential artists in Algerian modern art, and, like Frida Kahlo, was often associated with the Surrealist movement. Baya’s distinctive style was characterized by a degree of naivety and primitivism influenced both by popular references- tales and legends for the treatment of forms- and by Arab decorative arts- miniature, ceramics, and manufactured art objects.
- Baya Mahieddine, courtesy of Elmarsa