After completing a series of geometrically abstract paintings drawing upon the subject of transparency, reflection and spatial ambiguity, this illustrated lecture by painter and writer Kamal Boullata attempts to describe not what his painting series leads to but where it comes from. By tracking down the source of his abstract language, the painter extends an invitation to explore the leading artistic encounters between Byzantium and Islam which form the core of his cultural heritage.
Inspired by the Qur’anic legend of the encounter between King Solomon and Bilqis, known in English as the Queen of Sheba, the painting series by the Jerusalem-born artist attests to how a contemporary Arab aesthetic is forged. The lecture traces the trajectory through which a vision summoned from other times measures up to disclose artistic transformations worthy of our own time.
Kamal Boullata is a painter and writer. Born in Jerusalem, he studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Rome and at the Corcoran Gallery School of Art in Washington, D.C. He has been living in Berlin since his 2012 election as a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg Institute of Advance Study in Berlin.
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