Celebrate Colour!

Did you know that there is a place in Dubai where you can go and surround yourself with feel-good colours? And it is thanks to Elmarsa Gallery in Alserkal Avenue that is showing works by the most renowned Algerian female artist Baya Mahieddine.

Baya’s vibrant paintings talk to me folkloric women, flowers, butterflies and birds, but there is more to it than meets the eye. Interestingly, there are no men featured in her paintings.

Baya’s work is full of symbolism with the focus on strong women.

Born in 1931 in the Algerian town of Bordj El-Kiffan, Baya was orphaned at an early age. She didn’t attend any art school and was a self-taught artist. Her pieces often dealt with the idea and portrayal of the mother.

She was introduced to art while working in the house of Marguerite Benhoura, a French artist. By age 16 she was having her first art exhibit in Paris, which was organised by Benhoura who she called her ‘adoptive parent’.

Critics suggest that Baya’s work was challenging a male-dominated art scene at the time and that she never wanted to be identified by a specific style.

Baya not only was influenced and for a time worked with Picasso, she also influenced him. It is said that she inspired Picasso to paint a famous collection called Women of Algeria.


The exhibition, Baya Mahieddine (1931–1998), on view from March 18 through May 2, at Alserkal. Discover more about it here

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