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The final room in the exhibition features a work of personal significance to the owner of the collection Sultan Al Qassemi, who was first inspired to start collecting art upon visiting an exhibition of paintings by Ismail Shamout. Lending the show a concluding accent, Palestinian artist Ismail Shamout’s work is displayed on an orange background. Titled Madonna of the Oranges, this 1997 work transforms the artistic icon of the Italian Renaissance—the pieta of the Madonna cradling the baby Jesus—into a young Palestinian mother. Delicately draped in a white shroud, the Palestinian Madonna stands proudly in an orange grove. Often considered a visual chronicle of Palestinian history during and after the 1948 Nakba, Ismail Shammout has been an active practitioner since the early 1950s. To the right of Shamout’s painting is a sculpture by Adam Henein and an abstract work by Rafa Al Nasiri, a leading printmaker of the Arab world and a work in abstract calligraphy by Omar El Nagdi.
Text by Sarah Rogers and Salwa Mikdadi
© Photo: Courtesy of Barjeel Art Foundation, Photography by Capital D Studio
Highlights from the Barjeel Art Foundation. Sharjah Art Museum, UAE, 12 May 2018 - 31 May 2023. Curators: Salwa Mikdadi, Mandy Merzaban, Karim Sultan.