Wadi Finan Art Gallery (Booth M12) Abu Dhabi Art Fair 2021 - 3D virtual exhibition by Wadi Finan Art Gallery

Wadi Finan Art Gallery (Booth M12) Abu Dhabi Art Fair 2021

Wed, 11/17/2021 to Sun, 11/21/2021

curated by:

Wadi Finan Art Gallery is participating in the Modern Section of the Abu Dhabi Art Fair 2021 with a selection of works by the award-winning and highly respected Jordanian artist Mohanna Durra, who died recently in January, HRH Wijdan Al Hashimi, Hind Nasser and Ufemia Rizk.

Mohanna Durra

Muhanna Durra (1938- 2021) was born in Amman, Jordan, to a Turkish mother and Lebanese father who recognized his talent early on and began investing in his art education at the tender age of 16. Having learnt the basics of watercolor, drawing and painting from George Allief, a former Russian officer with the Tsarist army, Durra later apprenticed with Dutch painter, William Hallowin, who introduced him to Rembrandt and sparked Durra's obsession with the power of light and shadow, which is characteristic of his early portraits in the 1950s and 60s. Durra went on to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, becoming the first Jordanian to receive a formal art education.

Driven by his voracious appetite for experimentation, Durra explored the entire width of contemporary expression, marking his transition from figurative forms to abstraction and positioning him as the first to introduce Cubism and abstract art in Jordan. His critical and commercial acclaim secured Durra numerous solo exhibitions across Europe, the USA and the Arab World, and his work is represented in various national and international collections, including that of the Vatican, the Imperial Court of Japan, the President of the Philippines, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau of Canada, David Rockefeller, The Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Fannie Mae Bank in Washington, Bonn City Hall in Washington, the University of San Francisco, Georgetown University, as well as several Jordanian institutes.

Over the past 60 years, Durra has emerged as a cultural icon and a prominent advocate for art education in the kingdom, establishing the Fine Arts Section at the Department of Culture and Art in Amman in 1964, and the Jordan Institute of Fine Arts in 1970.


Wijdan Al-Hashemi is an art historian, painter, art curator and diplomat. Following her undergraduate studies in history at Beirut College for Women, in 1961, she gained a PhD in the history of Islamic art from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, 1993. Her art training began in the late 1950’s under Muhana Durra, the leading precursor of the modern art movement in Jordan.

Describing the essential qualities of Islamic art, Wijdan has written, ‘Islamic art focuses on the spiritual representation of objects and beings, not on their material qualities. Neglecting the exact imitation of nature, the Islamic artists chose a two-dimensional stylization to represent their visions. The artist’s quest was for the eternal representation of the spirit.’ Given the supreme importance of the word of God as set down in the Qur’an and its transmission throughout the Islamic world, the traditional emphasis upon the primacy of the written word served to elevate Arabic calligraphy into the pre-eminent form of artistic expression, a level it never attained in the western tradition. Whilst the zenith of the Islamic calligraphic tradition was perhaps reached in the Fourteenth Century, there are still many noted exponents of the traditional forms today. However, interactions with western developments also helped stimulate stylistic innovations, and Wijdan’s artistic practice is situated at the forefront edge of the modern calligraphic styles in the visual arts that incorporate contemporary ideas and western media.

Wijdan has written, edited and contributed to a number of publications on traditional and contemporary art from the Islamic world. She is the founder of the Royal Society of Fine Arts (1979) and the National Gallery of Fine Arts, (1980) in Jordan, as well as the founder and dean of the faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Jordan (2001-2005). Since October 2006, she has been the Jordanian Ambassador to Italy and currently lives and works in Rome.

1993 Ph.D. in Islamic Art, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, London, England.
1990 MA, Islamic Art, SOAS, University of London.
1961 BA, History, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon.
1958-63 Private training in painting with Armando Prön (Italian) and Muhanna Durra (Jordanian), Amman.

Solo Exhibitions
2009 "I Am You" Sharjah, LipanjePuntin artecontemporane, Rome, Italy
2003 "Honored Artist at the Sharjah Biennale" Sharjah, U. A. E.
2002 "Three Phases in Four Decades" Darat Al-Funun, Amman, Jordan
2001 "al-Riwaq Gallery" Manama, Bahrain
1994 "Riwaq al-Balqa'", Fuhais, Jordan.
"Shawa & Wijdan", October Gallery, London.
"Umaniyat", The Literary Club, Muscat, Oman.
1993 "Galligraphy in Watercolor"The Gallery, Amman, Jordan.
1992 "Wijdan and Franco de Courten", Shoman Gallery, Amman, Jordan.
1990 The Gallery, Amman, Jordan.
1986 Petra Bank Gallery, Amman, Jordan.
1981 Alia Art Gallery, Amman, Jordan.
Fine Arts Council, Karachi, Pakistan.
1980 Jordan National Gallery, Amman, Jordan.
1977 The Gallery, Amman, Jordan.
1979 Middle East Institute, Washington D.C., USA.
1973 Thor Gallery, Louisville, USA.
1972 Gallerias Melia, Madrid, Spain.
Jordan Intercontinental, Amman, Jordan.
1967 British Council, Amman, Jordan.
1965 Le Centre Culturel Français, Amman, Jordan.
Woodstock Gallery, London, England.
1965 Galerie Wirth, Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany.
1964 Le Centre Culturel Français, Amman, Jordan.
1963 American Cultural Centre, Amman, Jordan.

Artistic Awards
1995 Al-Hussein bin Talal Gold Medal for Artistic Achievement.
1987 Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres - Ministere de la Culture en France.
1981 Medaille d'Or - Academie Internationale de Lutèce, Lille, France.
1981 Diplome d'Honneur - Institut Européen de Science Humaine dans la Discipline Academique Beaux Arts, Brussel, Belgium.

Selected Solo Shows
1965 Woodstock Gallery, London, UK
Galerie Wirth, Berlin, West Germany
Le Centre Culturel Francais. Amman,Jordan
1972 Gallerias Melia, Madrid Spain
1973 Thor Gallery Louisville, Kentucky, USA
1979 Middle East Institute, Washington D,C
1980 Jordan National Gallery. Amman,
1981 Fine A.rts Council Karachi Pakistan
1992 Wijdan and Franco de Courten, Shoman Gallery Amman. Jordan
1993 The Gallery, Amman, Jordan

Selected Mixed Shows
1961 Jordanian Artists' Exhibition, Amman Municipality, Amman, Jordan
1982 Jordanian Art Exhibition, Moscow
Assila Art Exhibition, Assila, Morocco
Four Artists from Jordan, The Wraxall Gallery, London, UK
Arab Artists Exhibition, Centre D'Art Vivant de la Ville de Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia
1983-84 Jordanian Contemporary Art, Ankara State Museum, Ankara, Turkey (toured Istanbul, Turkey).
Jordanian Contemporary Art, Zacenta Art Gallery, Warsaw, Krakow and Poznan, Poland
1986 Cairo Biennial, Cairo, Egypt
Baghdad International Festival of Art, Saddam Centre for the Arts, Baghdad, Iraq.
La Vie Royale: L 'Art Contemporaien Jordanie, Musee du Luxembourg, Paris, France
1989 Contemporary Art From the Islamic World, Barbican Centre, London, UK.
1990 Arab Artists, Damascus and Alleppo, Syria
1991 An Arist's Point of View, McIntosh Gallery, Toronto, Canada
South of the World, Galleria Civica D' Arte Contemporanea, Marsala, Italy
1991 Baghdad International Festival of Art, Saddam Centre for the Arts, Baghdad
1992 Contemporary Jordanian Art, International World Fair, Seville, Spain
Forces of Change: Artists of the Arab World, The Notional Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C. USA
1993 Re-creations, Le Centre Culturel Francais, Amman, Jordan
Sixth Asian Art Biennial, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Contemporary Jordanian Art, Qasr AI-Bustan, Mascot, Oman
Exhibition of Arab Art, Darat al-Funun Arts Centre, Amman, Jordan
1994 Laila Shawa: The Walls of Gaza and Wijdan: Calligraphic Abstractlons, The October Gallery, London, UK

Selected Public Collections
The British Museum, London, UK
Shoman Foundation, Amman, Jordan
Jordan Notional Gallery, Amman, Jordan
Centre D'Art Vivant de la Ville de Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia
Musee d'Asilah, Asilah, Morocco
National Gallery, Islamabad, Pakistan
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amman, Jordan

Selected Publications
Contemporary Art From the Islamic World, Scorpion Publishing Co. London, UK, 1989.
Introduction to Islamic Art: Umayyads, AbbaSlds, Andaluslons and Fatlmlds, Vol I (English). Under publication.
Development of Modern Art In Jordan, to be published.

Hind Nasser

A Jordanian artist, born in Amman, Jordan 1940. Graduated with
a BA in History & Politics in 1961 from Beirut College for
Women (presently Lebanese American University). She started
studying painting under the artist Fahrelnissa Zeid in 1976.
Upon graduating, one of her most defined aims was to develop the
cultural scene in her country, she started teaching and established
the Alumnae Club of her College, a Children’s Club for cultural activities mainly
theatre and arts, The Jordan Crafts Council with a marketing outlet for the
traditional and modernized local crafts, and the Jordan lkebana chapter for the art
of flower arranging. She was one of the founders of the National Music
Conservatory of the Noor Al Hussein Foundation and Chairperson for 15 years and
one of the founding members of the Jordan Museum for archaeology. She trained
for marketing and worked as a marketing officer in a Financial Firm for Savings
and Loan. In 1995 she started her own project the Jordan Arts & Crafts Center /
Artisana. And then she established her own gallery, Gallery 14. Currently, she is
working on a project for natural history of Jordan.
Fahrelnissa Zeid, Artist, teacher and member of L’Ecole de Paris in the early fifties,
who have exhibited her works in most European capitals and in the USA, settled in
Jordan. Upon her arrival to Amman she established and chaired the Royal
Jordanian Institute Fahrelnissa Zeid, for Fine Arts. Nasser learned under her and
was launched into the world of abstract art in an unorthodox manner. Hind lives
and works in her home country, exhibiting in Jordan and abroad.

Ufemia Rizk

Born in Jaffa, Rizk currently lives in Montreal, Canada. She
studied at the American University in Beirut, Sorbonne
University in Paris, and Fahrelnissa Zeid Royal Institute of Fine
Arts where she studied Art. At Dawson College in Montreal, she
studied sculpture, printmaking, graphic design, computer
imaging technology, and web page design. Rizk’s art is the
creation of an inner world to penetrate the mysteries of the universe. Her paintings
concentrate mainly on geometric abstractions and reflect a necessity of capturing
and expressing a vision of cosmic forces. Her work is found in museum and private
collections internationally. She is the recipient of many awards and distinctions in
France and Japan: Medal of the Salon de Paris 3rd International Festival, Osaka;
Oscar with Gold Medal at the World Biennale of Modern Art, Lyon; Gold Medal
for French Merit; and five other gold medals.
Her selected solo exhibitions include: Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal, Canada,
1993; Centro Culturale d’Arte “San Michele”, Milan, Italy, 1993; Yarmouk
University, Irbid, Jordan, 1992; Jordan University, Amman, Jordan, 1992; Cultural
Foundation, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 1988; Petra Bank Gallery, Amman,
1986; Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan, 1984; Royal Culture Centre, Amman,
1984; Mandragore Internationale Gallery, Paris, 1983; Besserat de Bellefont,
Reims, France, 1983; Katia Granoff Gallery, Place Beauvau, Paris, 1979; and
Private Gallery, Amman, 1979.
Her selected group exhibitions include: Festival Images du Monde Arabe,
Montreal, Canada, 1996; Centro Culturale d’Arte “San Michele”, Milan, Italy,
1994; Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, 1993; Spanish Cultural Centre, Amman,
1990 and ’92; Jordanian Cinema Club, Amman, 1985, ’87 and ’92; Jordanian
Painters Exhibition, Amman, 1983 and ’91; Jerash Festival, Jerash, Jordan, 1983-
’85; Salon de Peinture et Sculpture, Palais des Congres, Vittel, France, 1985; Prix
de Peinture et Sculpture, Hotel de Ville, Nancy, France, 1984; 1st World Biennale
of Modern Art, Lyon, France, 1984; European Art Festival, Leonardo Da Vinci
Foundation Paris, Montreux, Switzerland, 1984; Prix de Peinture et Sculpture,
Strasbourg, France, 1983-’84; Arab Women’s Art Exhibition, Amman, 1983;
Europe Arts International Exhibitions, Cassis, Royan, Mallemort, France, 1983;
and Grand Prix de Jeunes Peintres et Sculpteurs, Metz, France, 1983.

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