PROJECTS

POP ART FROM NORTH AFRICA

22nd September - 4 November 2017 / P21 Gallery / London

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Curators Najlaa El-Ageli and Toufik Douib are proud to present the ‘Pop Art from North Africa’ collective exhibition, in partnership with the P21 Gallery and the Arab British Centre, and supported by the AMAL: A Said Foundation Project and Darf Publishers.

The artists: Mouad Aboulhana (Morocco), Alla Abudabbus (Libya), Rasha Amin (Egypt), Dhafer Ben Khalifa (Tunisia), Amel Benaoudia (Algeria), Walid Bouchouchi (Algeria), El3ou (Algeria), Malak Elghuel (Libya), Sarah Basma Harnafi (Morocco), Sarroura Libre (Tunisia), Meryem Meg (Algeria-Bulgaria), Ilyes Messaoudi (Tunisia), El-Moustach (Algeria), Qarm Qart (Italy-Egypt) and Sofiane Si Merabet (Algeria).

The show will put together for the first time under the P21 Gallery roof, the exciting artworks of fifteen creative individuals from North Africa who are all inspired by the Pop Art movement. Every country in the region will be represented, including artists from: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, as well as their diasporas living in Europe.

In the style of one of the 20th century’s most influential movements that was spearheaded by Eduardo Paolozzi and Richard Hamilton in 1950s Britain, the combined works tackle the social, political and cultural environments unique to North Africa.

Through paintings, digitally manipulated images, animation, music and street art, the show will take the audience on a voyage through urban landscapes, exploring the human condition and indicating the tortuous clash between tradition and modernity, in homage to the pioneers of the Western pop art, such as Keith Haring, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

The engaging display will also be reflecting on how the artists become public commentators in their society in the quest to explore a local identity within the context of a globalised consumerist world. It will encompass the critical inter- play between Western exported products and how they are consumed in North Africa; and, especially, in the use of the international icons that come to hold new value and meaning when manifested in a different environment.

Addressing the theme of the ‘Maghrebisation’ of Western commercial brands, for example, there is an implicit critique of the supposed ‘American-Western’ superiority. One sees however that the artists also utilise the public and common symbols, images and narratives that are more specific to the North African region and considering the powerful role that they play in the collective Maghreb psyche.

El-Ageli: “This show will bring forth to its audience the pure and authentic North African consciousness through the pop art form. By its nature direct and accessible, the group exhibition reveals the innate sense of humour that is blended with a subtle touch of cynicism and delivered with light-hearted connotations. It offers a complex, intelligent and meaningful picture of themes that are dear to the North African people and what occupies their minds and awareness.”

Douib: “In the west, pop culture has quickly become a phenomenon, beginning with re-appropriation and reinvention and then evolving into an industry for dreams and evasion. Pop art is constantly evolving in how it communicates with the masses and engages with minorities. Similarly, pop art in North Africa helps creatives to look at the relationship between hypermodernity and tradition.

“From tale characters to showbiz celebrities or blockbuster superheroes to historical gurus, what is extraordinary in North African pop art is its ability to intertwine eclectic ingredients of culture, confirming both sense of belonging to common roots and openness to a universal movement. At a time of geopolitical challenges within and beyond the region, it is very exciting to showcase a unique representation of a united Maghreb.”

Providing a fresh new alternative perspective on North Africa and its visual culture for the British public, there will be also a parallel program of events taking place at the P21 Gallery. Soon to be announced, this will include panel discussions with some of the artists and the curators.

 

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Najlaa El-Ageli: Originally from Libya, Najlaa El-Ageli is a qualified British architect (AA Dip). Due to a deep lifelong passion for the arts, in 2012 she co-founded Noon Arts, a small private foundation that aimed to spot, nurture and support Libyan artists who were finally free from the former oppressive regime to be able to showcase and celebrate their talents. 

To date Noon Arts has curated eleven successful international exhibitions that have truly brought forward Libyan art to the world stage with excellent positive feedback and wide media coverage. At the invite of the Benetton Foundation, Noon Arts also curated the Libya Imago Mundi catalogue in 2016. 

Currently, El-Ageli’s is working as a freelance curator in London who is involved with bringing forward artwork not just from Libya but also that which is inspired by the wider MENA under the online umbrella of ‘Noon Arts Projects’ that can be found at: www.noonartsprojects.com

Toufik Douib; An independent events director and curator, he born and bred in Algeria, where he studied at the Junior Conservatory of Art and later worked at the Ministry of Culture. After moving to London in 2009, he became more involved in global intercultural understanding and committed to the question of the Algerian and Maghreb identity in art.

Since completing a Masters in ‘Cultural Event Management’ in 2014, Douib has worked on various projects to illustrate Algerian culture to a UK audience. Most notably, he produced the theatrical music and dance representation in ‘The London Algerian Ballet’ (2012-2014) and curated the collective visual art project ‘Algerianism’ (2015) and the digital art project ‘Home-Lend’ (2016). He further contributes to the Wall Street International and DIGI-MENA, an online mapping research platform.

The P21 Gallery: The P21 Gallery is an independent London-based charitable trust established to promote contemporary Middle Eastern and Arab art and culture. The two-story venue in central London is a place where contemporary artistic statements are experienced and appreciated by a artistic community. The facilities at P21 are planned to maximise the potential of contemporary art as a discourse, through multimedia exhibition spaces on two levels with supporting facilities for public functions in addition to workshops for training and education.

The Arab British Centre: The ABC is a cultural organisation which works to further the understanding of the Arab world in the United Kingdom. It aims to further understanding of the Arab world by promoting its culture, sharing its knowledge and supporting a community of individuals and organisations that work to enhance friendship and collaboration between people of the UK and the Arab world.

The AMAL Foundation: AMAL believes that culture and the arts broaden horizons and forge common ground within and between communities. It provides opportunities for people in Britain, regardless of their faith or beliefs, to come together and explore the rich diversity of Muslim cultures and arts including storytelling, visual arts, theatre, poetry, film, music and dance. Through its varied activities, it hopes to achieve a deeper and broader understanding of Muslim cultures, thereby adding to the strength and vitality of contemporary British society.

DARF Publishers: Established in 1980 in London, this publishing house focuses on books about Libya, the Middle East and the Arab World in English, as well as translating world literature for English audiences. It is an imprint of Dar Fergiani, which was a major Arabic publishing house that operated in Libya in the 1950s. It now operates with two bookshops in London.

PRESS INFORMATION

For further exhibition information, press images and interview opportunities, please contact the gallery: info@p21.org.uk, or Nahla Al Ageli: E-mail: n.al.ageli@gmail.com

 

JEWELLED TALES OF LIBYA

19 -27 January 2017 / Arab British Centre / London

In collaboration with the Arab British Centre and co-curated with Hala Ghellali, the ‘Jewelled Tales of Libya’ was a rare exhibition that explored the diversity and historical identity of a country through its tradition of fine silver jewellery. By showcasing the rich cultural heritage to the wider public, it aimed to tell the stories behind the adornments and the symbols that feature heavily throughout the geographical expanse that we know as Libya.

Alongside the display of 45 authentic dating from the 1920s to the 1960s that comprised of chokers, belts, headpieces, bangles, silver slippers and other items, a parallel aspect was the extraordinary vintage photography of Libyan women dressed in their finery that came from a historically valuable private collection.

Dating back to the early decades of the 20th Century, many of the images were taken by the Italian cameramen who had established studios in Libya during the European colonisation, from Aula, Nascia, Rimoldi and others who contributed to the Orientalist strand of photography. In contrast to these, there was also on display more recent photographs taken by the talented Libyan photographer Sassi Harib, whose work captures the essence of Libya’s Southern women.

Viewing Libya's silver jewellery through these three angles brought to light the reality of Libya's colourful past and the many influences that have impacted on it. From the ancient Greek and Roman civilisations to the input of the African, Amazigh, Bedouin, Moorish, Jewish, Ottoman and Arab peoples, the jewellery itself innocently revealed the country's difficult journey over the millennia but without making any negative judgment on it and without hiding any of its uncomfortable truths.

 

IMAGO MUNDI : Libya Catalogue

18 February - 10th March 2017 / Zisa Zona Arti Contemporanee / Palermo, Sicily

But for the size of the canvas for submission, the international ‘Imago Mundi’ project offers a truly democratic platform for all artists across the world to take part in. With the aim of curating an Arts catalogue for each country to be found on the global map, the Benetton Foundation formally invited Noon Arts to curate the Libya edition.

A huge logistical challenge, it took Najlaa eight months to identify, locate and convince 140 Libyan artists to participate. The issue of delivering and returning the 10x12cm canvases in a country with little to zero postal services was a difficult task, but one worth the effort. The catalogue was successfully compiled and published in 2016 and will be touring the world for years to come as well as for the original canvases to be on permanent display in Italy. Most recently, it has been shown at the Biennale Arcipelago Mediterraneo (BAM) in Palermo.

Belonging to a country that is so vast in its geography and with a complex social and ethnic make-up, the work of the local artists reflected on Libya’s multi-layered landscape and its diverse background. The catalogue revealed some very real hidden treasures with bold, courageous and skilful art that is testimony to a thriving Libyan arts movement.

Curating the ‘Imago Mundi’ was definitely a journey of discovery that has resulted in a colourful visual representation of the artists’ collective dreams, worries and aspirations both in print and on canvas. This catalogue will provide a significant reference point for future generations as a documentary archive encapsulating Libya’s artists during this special moment in time, when the uncertainty of what is Libya could have prevented it from happening.

The project involved many people at different stages who are worthy of mention and credit: Emad Pachagha from ‘The Art House’ in Tripoli and Abdelgader Bader in Benghazi, whose support and dedication led to the location of 110 artists inside the country, other than the 30 artists who lived abroad.

In terms of research, feedback and editing, credit to: Nahla Al-Ageli, Hadia Gana and Hala Gellali. Special thanks also to: Ali Mustafa Ramada, Muftah Abudjaja, Farida Hajaji, Nadine Nasaret, Siraj Dugdug, Nouman El-Ageli, Eman Fezzani and Faisel Almeehoob. Last but not least, credit is due to all the artists who took part and the Benetton Foundation that entrusted Noon Arts to undertake the Libya project. 

 

TEXTURAL THREADS

3-19 March, 2016 / Rich Mix / London

Appointed by the London-based Arts Canteen, Najlaa curated this visual arts project as part of the ‘Arab Women Now Festival’ (AWAN) 2016. Held at the Rich Mix venue in East London, ‘Textural Threads' brought the work of five female Arab artists whose work opened up an important dialogue on both the universal as well the local issues of gender, identity, culture and the human body.

The input of Takwa Barnosa (Libya), Nasreen Shaikh Jamal Al-Lail (Saudi Arabia), Dima Nashwai (Syria), Meryem Meg (Algeria-Bulgaria) and Hania Zaazoua (Algeria) brought a beautiful touch to the multifaceted exchange on contemporary Arab female subjectivities. By utilising different textures and methods, they all approached some of the most difficult topics impacting on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region today as well as highlighting what seems to be pertinent to the Arab.

From Nashawi’s elegant illustrations that told of what it means to be a Syrian living in London, to the young Barnosa’s use of bold brush strokes of Arabic script on newsworthy photography, to the captivating digital prints on soft silk material by Zaazoua, these women reclaimed the imaginative terrain and showed how art can become the cathartic measure to keep one sane amidst the crazy dramas playing outside on the streets of a blighted zone, as well as by looking psychologically inwards for answers.

Collectively striving to advance a peace, hope and love agenda, the exhibition was a celebration of womanhood itself and also how to defy the simple categorisations of what it means to be a creative from MENA. Organised by Arts Canteen, AWAN is an annual event held in London every March on the occasion of International Women’s Day. It focuses on Arab female artists to help increase the visibility of their work and talent by exposing it to newer audiences every year. 

 

BIRTHMARK THEORY

20 October – 14 November 2015 / London Print Studio / London

Partnering with the ‘Nour Festival of Arts’ 2015, Najlaa curated the artworks of Arwa Abouon at the London Print Studio. This exhibition ran alongside the wider festival that annually celebrates contemporary Middle Eastern and North African arts and culture and which takes place in venues across the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

‘Birthmark Theory’ was a retrospective show of the artist’s work going back over ten years and displaying some of her most iconic and award-winning pieces. Abouon’s approach is to use the motifs and symbols from her Islamic background and to juxtapose them with her Western-Canadian credentials. Reflecting on what defines an identity when one belongs to two different cultures, she subverts any prejudices that may be held by others.

Courageously employing herself and her family members as art models, her poetic diptychs and installations express and illustrate the possibilities of reconciling what might seem to be at odds influences - of a liberal versus conservative environment and also on being a woman. In the process of introspection, she finds and creates a happy medium that celebrates the colourful mix rather than it becoming a source of struggle or conflict.

‘Birthmark Theory’ featured the ‘Mirror Mirror / Allah Allah’ diptych that won the second prize at the 26th Annual Alexandra Biennale for Mediterranean Countries in 2014a and other works including the ‘I’m Sorry / I Forgive You’ diptych, the ‘Abouon Family’ picture, the ‘Celestial Sphere’, the ‘Generation Series’ and the ‘Pear Shape’.

At the time of presenting her work, Abouon gave a statement: “My work results from the dynamic interactions between personal reflections on human nature, an attempt to meet and see the world as it is, and the multiple perspectives of my own gaze. The attempts to visually translate these specific configurations of subject, time, and place are usually photographic, but also sometimes integrate video, design or additional installations.

I am also investigating mechanisms at play when learning and acquiring knowledge, and the different shapes that this knowledge takes on as it is transferred from one generation to another. Balancing playful humour, re-appropriation and respectful homage, I hope my work is always visually intricate in the subtleties within its voices.”

 

THE MELTING POTS

14 - 23 July 2015 / Arab British Centre, London

‘The Melting Pots’ exhibition brought a mix of artwork that considered the open concept of a city in relation to both Tripoli and Benghazi, Libya. It presented the subjective interpretations of the artists as each depicted his or her relationship with either one of these two ancient metropolises. Altogether there were seven participants, six from Libya and one from Poland.

Displaying their paintings, photography and questioning installation art, every piece was a form of creative contemplation upon the history, the present and the future of these sister capitals, as well as the realisation that neither one can be easily defined or pinned down. With a history spanning thousands of years, both of these cities have been conquered, destroyed and have had to be rebuilt several times.

From the ancient Phoenicians and the Carthaginian to the Berber, the Byzantines, the Romans, the Arabs, the Spaniards, the Greeks, the Turks, the Knights of Malta and modern Italy, they have all influenced the character, landscape and architecture of Tripoli and Benghazi, with the many layers of diverse humanity having inscribed their messages on the walls and leaving their marks that are still visible.

The highlights of the exhibition were: Najla Shawket Fitouri’s colourful paintings that depicted Tripoli and Benghazi in the female form, Hasan Dhaimish’s ‘Sketches of Libya’ series of digitally manipulated images showing the Libyan cities during the Italian Occupation and the Golden Era of the 1950s and 1960s, Hadia Gana’s ‘Tripoli Pebbles’ installation, Nawal Gebreel’s ‘Spiral Fabrics’ sculptures, Muftah Abudajaja’s digital calligraphic images, Ibrahim Tawati’s photography of Benghazi and Adam Styp-Rekowski’s photography and prose.

 

AIMEN AJHANI @ SHUBBAK FESTIVAL 

11 July 2015 / Chelsea Theatre, London

Noon Arts was proud to partner with London’s largest biennial festival that is solely dedicated to contemporary Arab arts and culture, the Shubbak Festival in 2015. Bringing the Libyan graffiti artist Aiman Ajhani, aka ‘Elbohly’, he was able to participate in the launch event of the festival as part of the ‘Hafla on the Square’ celebrations.

Alongside a great line-up of live music, art and drop-in workshop throughout the day at the Chelsea Theatre, the festival audience and passers-by had the opportunity to watch this hip artist as he created on the spot spontaneous works on the walls of the venue that were a blank canvas for the occasion.

Ajhani is a Libyan artist who began his journey painting graffiti on the walls of his hometown of Tripoli just preceding and during the February 2011 Revolution. Originally inspired by the hip-hop counter sub-culture, he was part of a group of youth who used to gather in the city to practise their breakdance, rap-songs and spraying artwork as a way of voicing their rebellion

When his talent was spotted by the Danish ‘Turning Tables’ organisation, he found himself in Denmark where he is currently resident. Ajhani’s murals in particular contain great energy and vibrancy as he experiments with symbols, Arabic script and creating what is termed as ‘calligraffiti. It is always a wonder to observe him at work.

Ajhani has participated in many festivals across Europe and North Africa and his murals have been displayed in Copenhagen (Denmark), Tunis (Tunisia), Tripoli (Libya) and Amsterdam (Holland). 

 

A LIBYAN LAMMA

9 January - 16 February 2014 / St James Cavalier / Valletta, Malta

‘A Libyan Lamma' exhibited the work of six contemporary Libyan artists and gave them the rare opportunity to show their pieces to the Maltese public for the very first time at the venue of St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity in Valletta. It was kindly sponsored and supported by Medavia Airlines and Mediterranean Investment Holdings.

'Lamma' - which means a social gathering in the local Arabic dialect – brought paintings, sculptures, installation art and photography within the context of post-Revolutionary Libya; where on the one hand there was the sense of a wider scope for artistic freedom of expression, but where also the future of the socio-political terrain was and still is uncertain.

Some of the highlights were Mohammad Bin Lamin's sculptures that were made from recycled war materials like metal bullets, Matug Aborawai's incredible paintings and sketches of drowning immigrants on their way to Europe, Hadia Gana's ‘Zarda’ installation piece and Naziha Arebi's photographs that offered an unusual glimpse into the private celebrations of Libyan women. The other two artists were Yousef Fetis and Arwa Abouon.

Commenting on the exhibition at its opening, Najlaa said: "There has always been a very special trade relationship between Malta and Libya and Noon's aim is to open a dialogue between the Maltese public and the Libyan artists to help create richer cross-cultural understanding and the appreciation of each other”

The St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, Valletta, Malta first opened its doors to the public on 22 September 2000. As the Maltese Government's Millennium Project, it has taken on the role of pushing forward Malta's cultural aspirations.

 

NAJLA SHAWKAT FITOURI

6 - 20 January 2014 / Corinthia, St Julian, Malta

Held at the Corinthia Hotel in St Julian, Malta this was a solo exhibition for the Libyan artist Najla Shawket Fitouri. Born in Libya in 1968, she is a graduate from the Faculty of Arts at the University of Tripoli and has made a name for herself in the emerging Libyan art scene; and, especially, in her advancing and making heard the female voice.

Fitouri's paintings focus mainly on the lives of her home country’s women with her visually dramatic interpretations of their lifestyle and the use of powerful imagery. Her themes touch upon the constantly evolving Libyan female identity by reflecting on both the personal and collective worries and experience. She also addresses their emotional pain alongside the happier moments lived during this time of a country and a people in transition.

A strong and vibrant paint palette with reds and blues graces her work and she is constantly pushing the boundaries, by testing with different forms and art techniques as well as inventing newer ones. Fitouri has a once-seen recognisable style that speaks volumes about her individual story and that of all other Libyan women.

At the time of presenting her work, she gave a statement: “I try to open a dialogue with myself through colour, as colour can neither be monitored nor controlled politically. Colour to me is the creative language that is innocent but that can also question the spirit and the political realm.

"The challenge before the Revolution was how to use and manipulate colour as a way to translate my inhibitions and insights. Now post-Revolution, the fight is for my freedom away from the political… I can be more exploratory and fearless through my paintings and it is an adventure that requires a struggle to meet the ultimate goal and to reach a wider audience.”

 

THE MELTING POT

2 - 5 December 2013 /Dar El Feghie Hassan / Tripoli, Libya

Sponsored and supported by the German Embassy in Tripoli, Libya this exhibition considered the concept of a city in the case of Tripoli. The artwork reflected the different interpretations of the artists as they conveyed their feelings, thoughts and ideas about the capital town and representing parts of its past, present and future.

Oea as the Phoenicians had named her, has been destroyed many times and conquered; from the Phoenicians to the Berber, the Byzantines, the Romans, the Arabs, the Spaniards, the Turks, the Knights of Malta and modern Italy. It has gone through many difficult phases and has had to be defiant and resilient, as well as needing to merge aspects of the ancient with the new, the sane with the insane and finding itself unwittingly tired and debilitated.

The artists beautifully captured Tripoli’s many paradoxes and concluded that it is still a work in progress. With the paintings, photography, etchings, lino cut printing and installation, this ancient crossroad continues to proudly declare its long and colourful history and is determined that it will remain a melting pot of culture. Bearing witness to all it has had to survive, including a cruel oppression that lasted over four decades, it shall continue to simmer for years and years to come.

The artists who took part in ‘The Melting Pot’ exhibition were: Najla Shawkat, Huda Ben Musa, Hadia Gana, Bashir Hamouda, Mohammed Ben Barka, Mohammed Kharoubi, Mustafa Abudajaja and Adam Styp Rekowski.

 

HADERZA MENSIA

15 - 24 June 2013 / Doshma, Tripoli, Libya

Haderza Mensia’ translates as the forgotten chatter in the local Arabic dialect. It was Noon Arts’ second major exhibition sponsored by the German Embassy in Tripoli, Libya and Hud Hud Ltd and held at the Doshma venue. Its aim was to showcase the work of twelve artists as they reflected on the new status of post-Revolutionary Libya, with the pieces holding a conversation as to the disconcerting past and what the future might hold.


The collection was made up of some very powerful artworks through the mediums of photography, paintings, sculptures and film. It truly captured that moment in time when the Libyans were beginning to explore the hidden side of human nature and revealing their worries and concerns for a nation just liberated from dictatorship but still teetering on an insecure base and lacking a foundation.

The particular choice of subjects and the use of symbols and clever ironies conveyed many of the personal and collective topics that were on the mind of all Libyans. For many of them, the real Libya felt as though it had been forgotten, but with art being a best means of influence, the artists addressed the country’s precarious status in a visual way and highlighted what they felt was being ignored.

Some of the issues grappled with, for example, were the predicament of Libya’s vulnerable women and its frustrated youth as well as the plight of innocent children and the elderly. The exhibition was thus a heartfelt invitation to the public to join in the chatter with the artists and offer everyone a safe space for open and honest discussion.

The artists involved in ‘Haderza Mensia’ were: Yousef Fetis, Najla Shawket Fitouril, Faten Babaa, Hadia Gana, Mohammad Bin Lamin, Boudur Jazeri, Mariam Hanedi, Sassi Hareb, Muftah Abudajaja, Huda Abuzaid, Khuloud Alzwei and Naziha Arebi.

 

THE LIBYAN

 22 - 30 November 2012 / The Arab British Centre / London

Supported by the British Council, ‘The Libyan’ was the first exhibition curated by Noon Arts. It brought together for the very first time in London the wonderful work of eight living Libyan artists. Both male and female, from the ages of 24 to 67, their produced work included paintings, short film, photography, sculpture and installation art.

The mixed show offered a sample collection of the great emerging art that started to come out of Libya circa 2011 and that drew upon the Libyan’s preoccupations; from the portrayal of the day-to-day local lifestyle and culture, to Libyan women's beauty, to touching upon the political oppression under Gaddafi as well as conveying some of the promises of a recent Revolution.

Extremely colourful with an exotic air in terms of the response from the foreign gaze, the works truly challenged any negative preconceptions that others may have had in relation to the potential of the art coming out from what was then a newly liberated and emerging free democracy. The Libyan artists were finally able to explore, express and expose without fear of censure or reprisals their hidden thoughts and dreams.

‘The Libyan’ was the debut show that received such wonderful and positive international feedback that allowed Noon Arts to approach many other projects and strengthened Najlaa’s determination to continue to bring the artwork of Libyans to the world stage and give them the platform to receive the credit they deserve.

The artists who took part in ‘The Libyan’ were: Yousef Fetis, Mohammed Albadri, Faten Baaba, Naziha Arebi, Hadia Gana, Mohammad Bin Lamin, Najla Shawket Fitouri and Muktar Alshrief. 

Supported by the British Council, ‘The Libyan’ was the first exhibition curated by Noon Arts. It brought together for the very first time in London the wonderful work of eight living Libyan artists. Both male and female, from the ages of 24 to 67, their produced work included paintings, short film, photography, sculpture and installation art.

The mixed show offered a sample collection of the great emerging art that started to come out of Libya circa 2011 and that drew upon the Libyan’s preoccupations; from the portrayal of the day-to-day local lifestyle and culture, to Libyan women's beauty, to touching upon the political oppression under Gaddafi as well as conveying some of the promises of a recent Revolution.

Extremely colourful with an exotic air in terms of the response from the foreign gaze, the works truly challenged any negative preconceptions that others may have had in relation to the potential of the art coming out from what was then a newly liberated and emerging free democracy. The Libyan artists were finally able to explore, express and expose without fear of censure or reprisals their hidden thoughts and dreams.

‘The Libyan’ was the debut show that received such wonderful and positive international feedback that allowed Noon Arts to approach many other projects and strengthened Najlaa’s determination to continue to bring the artwork of Libyans to the world stage and give them the platform to receive the credit they deserve.

The artists who took part in ‘The Libyan’ were: Yousef Fetis, Mohammed Albadri, Faten Baaba, Naziha Arebi, Hadia Gana, Mohammad Bin Lamin, Najla Shawket Fitouri and Muktar Alshrief.