Thuraya Al-Baqsami|Retrospective Exhibition 1970-2011

sergei, 1977, pastels on paper: it is a common (and quite ignorant) misperception in this part of the world that artists who take any path other than the realist one, can’t draw. these are the laypeople. i don’t think they understand that shifting away from realism is a choice the artist makes and not just an easy way out. for these people, none of which will ever look at this blog, so this comment is totally futile: look, thuraya al-baqsami can indeed draw!

Way back in 1991, I borrowed a book from a friend. The title was roughly Contemporary Art in the Islamic World. I remember going through it and systematically writing down the names of the artists whose works I liked; one of the names I wrote down was Thuraya Al-Baqsami’s. I remember her painting in the book of Muscovite rooftops. I thought, how cool-as a Kuwaiti artist-that her work was in a book of such caliber, and wondered if it would ever be me (still working on it. Still working on it.) I never, ever thought that I’d see her work in real life, let alone meet her (and even travel with her! If you want to have a crazy fun time, you travel with Thuraya Al-Baqsami!).

Congratulations to you, Thuraya. I throw you kisses!


the optimistic tragedy, 1977, tempera on paper: i know that thuraya lived part of her life in moscow, so it just makes sense that she would be influenced by the russian revolution of the late 70s and early 80s

top: badr el budoor II, 1980, tempera bottom: icon, 1978, tempera on paper. an icon from the east and one from the west (the west which is located in the east, that is: moscow)

childhood dreams, 1982, silkscreen print: i fell in love with this little girl. something tells me it's thuraya

return of the parted, 1992, acrylic on canvas: thuraya's retrospective, as any other, reads like a diary. this painting made me smile because it captures thuraya and her family so well. and i just want to pinch little monira's cheeks.

the parting, 1991, etching print: another post-invasion work

oriental angel I (detail), 1995, acrylic on canvas: to me, this is a quintessentially thuraya al-baqsami face: the nose, the eyes, the color of her skin

loneliness, 1985, pottery: i love this little mummy fella. but seriously, if i were thuraya, i'd be patting myself on the back. she's done so much and i feel vicariously proud!

left: moulin rouge, 2001, oil monoprint right: fish, 2001, oil monoprint: another two unmistakable al-baqsamis

red rain, 2002, acrylic monoprint: funny, i thought this one might be one of her earlier works. there's something very 70s about it. i really like it

left: red zone II, 2011, acrylic on canvas right: red zone I, 2011, acrylic on canvas: i just love, love, LOVE these two. i want. i love the contrast of the red and black with the softness of the pastel colors above. and i'm happy this is current because it means she's still working and she still kicks ass

twins, 2007, acrylic on canvas: i immediately thought: that's thuraya and farida, when i saw this. i'm thinking the one on the left is thuraya. and it's nice that they're sharing an eye. isn't that what twins do?

angel, 2010, acrylic on canvas: ah, my angel. this is one of my favorites and i want it too. it comes across as being so simple but i know there are so many complex layers underneath. i love it *sigh*

Thuraya Al-Baqsami’s Exhibition is up until March 28th at the Al Funoon & Ahmed Al-Adwani Exhibition Hall in Dhahiat Abdullah Al-Salem. It’s a one-time opportunity, especially for any local, Kuwaiti artist and art lover to see her work. Don’t miss it.

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